Book Review #31: The Ends Of The World

Peter Brannen

The Ends Of The World


Publisher: Oneworld


Pages: 322



One word review: Profound!


Did you know? Mother Earth has endured five mass extinctions in the history of life.


The Ends Of The World is an informative book by Peter Brannen, a science journalist. After reading The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert my intense search for a book on past extinctions lead me to this book. The book is profuse and delineates all the mass extinctions that Mother Earth has faced throughout the history of life.


Excerpts from Book:

The Ordovician world is also known as the "Sea Without Fish"

If you read the titles of the chapters in the book, you will get to know that this book is thorough and incisive in its content. I would rather say that this book is the "goto" book if you want to read about mass extinctions. Before I read this book I was aware of only one extinction, the popular one that wiped out the pop-stars of Earth, Dinosaurs. But this book made me realize that life on Earth was much more than Dinosaurs.



A lot can happen in a million years. Human beings are just 200,00 years old.

The book lists down the details of all the mass extinctions that had brought cataclysm to our planet previously, their causes - both long term and short term and how severe were the impacts of these events on flora and fauna back then? Interestingly, it also recounts how the planet recovered from the cataclysmic events. There are various interviews with a plethora of paleontologists, geologists, doctorates and many other professionals to let us know the reality on the subject.


There are few ways to render a planet all but lifeless. One way is to kill everything - throw an enormous asteroid at a planet, or an ice age, or a period of extreme global warming, and so on.

Readability of the book is not an issue because the author has made sure to give analogies for concepts that is beyond our imagination or understanding. The contents are paced in a linear way and explicated with minute details. Obviously, if you aren't a fan of informative genre this book would be a humdrum read for you. But for those who possess a ravenous appetite for knowledge gathering this book is a treat.


T. rex is the biggest predator that's ever lived on land. Today it's polar bear. T. rex could stomp a polar bear.

Reading this book was more than just information gathering or getting exposed to a specialized subject. It was enlightening to recognize how superficial my knowledge about our planet was and to get to know the nuances of what mother earth had to endure to come to where it is now. If you realize how late humans arrived on Earth, I'm sure your ego would be crushed.


Verdict: A Studious Tale of Extinctions!



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