The Sixth Extinction

An Unnatural History

Hardcover

Published Nov. 7, 2014 by Bloomsbury.

ISBN:
978-1-4088-5121-0
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4 stars (62 reviews)

From the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe, a powerful and important work about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a compelling account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes.

17 editions

Review of 'Sixth Extinction' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

A sobering assessment of the mass extinction event now underway in the Anthropocene, and the systems collapse that is sure to occur as a result of this devastating loss of biodiversity. Ironically, this assessment of the current rate of extinction is likely to already be outdated even though it was published only a few years ago. However, while presenting a solid overall summary, the author does not seem committed to pointing out exactly why this is occurring beyond the already-established mechanism of anthropogenic global warming, and several passages in the book, including 1) the author's raving about the delicacy of kangaroo meat and 2) casually mentioning a pig, an animal at least as intelligent as a dog, being brought to a research station and placed in a tiny cage for the sole purpose of being barbecued, shows that the author herself does not seem to have fully internalized the lessons …

Review of 'Sixth Extinction' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

A sobering and, to be honest, scary book about the possible (probable?) coming "sixth extinction", following 5 previous catastrophic extinctions, this time by human hands. In each chapter, Kolbert (who actually lives in my state), tells the story of previous "extinctions" or the one that seems imminent. The last chapter, entitled The Thing With Feathers, discusses one of the last `alalā, an Hawaiian crow and how we have a choice to make. She doesn't sound very optimistic and, to be honest, I am even more pessimistic these days than she is, which brought a tear to me eye a few times reading this chapter.

Speaking of tears, I think the saddest chapter was the one called The New Pangea, which describes the sad plight of a local to me animal, Myotis lucifugus, or little brown bat. They are dying by the millions due to "white nose syndrome", …

Review of 'The Sixth Extinction' on 'Import'

3 stars

A broad scope and interesting if grim topic, Kolbert explores the five previous major extinctions in the past, and creates observations on how the Anthropocene (the era where human beings are changing their environment) is creating a sixth major extinction. Some excellent research occasionally spoiled by overly simplistic journalistic writing that meanders aimlessly. Overall an interesting and accessible read, and a good introduction book to the Anthropocene.

Review of 'The sixth extinction' on 'Storygraph'

3 stars

This book tells the story of some groups of plants and animals from different locations around the world that have either become extinct or are at risk. It explains how this is caused by humans in several ways, which are acting together to give rates of extinction that are higher than just adding the the individual effects.
I wouldn't have finished this except I was reading for a book club. I found the writing annoying at times. This book could have used a good editor. There are too many sentences (which were all through the book) with asides in parentheses, too many irrelevant "facts" such as the closing time of the cafeteria at the museum that the author is visiting.
There are also annoyances such as temperatures in degrees. Which kind? Celsius? Probably not, the author is American.
On the other hand, there are some interesting stories that show how …

Review of 'The sixth extinction' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

The Sixth Extinction is a collection of short studies of a particular species or ecosystem, and what is happening to it now. The net effect is a whole that is larger than the sum of its parts. Set against the backdrop of the first few chapters, which describe the causes and results of history's first 5 major extinction events (one of which killed off the dinosaurs), the author convincingly makes the case, based on well-researched data, that we are now experiencing the 6th major extinction event, the cause is us, and it began back when modern humans first evolved and began hunting the now-extinct Ice Age megafauna. But this isn't a dry, scientific study -- it's aimed at a layperson audience and is written as anecdotes about the author's travels to visit each species or ecosystem about which she writes. There are interesting characters and stories at each stop. Highly …

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