The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

by Elizabeth Kolbert

Over the last half-billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramaticallycontracted.

  • Hardcover
  • Pages: 292 pages
  • Average Rating: 4.08 out of 5
  • Published February 11th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (Georg von Holtzbrinck)
  • Original Title: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
  • ISBN: 0805092994 (ISBN13: 9780805092998)
  • Edition Language: English
  • URL: Go To Website
  • Literary Awards: Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction (2015)
  • Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science & Technology (2014)
  • PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award Nominee (2015)
  • Andrew Carnegie Medal Nominee for Nonfiction (2015)
  • Kirkus Prize Nominee for Nonfiction (Finalist) (2014) ...more Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Nonfiction (2014)...less

Over the last half-billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, The New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind’s most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.