Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

Book Review: The Sixth Extinction


The Sixth Extinction
Could this book change the World?

The Sixth Extinction is one of those “change the world books.” If everyone read the book, our world would change dramatically—for the better.

Having also written a book aimed at changing the way people view our planet, I can say that, unfortunately, Elizabeth Kolbert’s well-researched, well-written book will ultimately fail at such a grand goal. The reason? The people who should be reading The Sixth Extinction are exactly the people who won’t read it: the trophy hunters who stalk exotic species; the global warming deniers whose minds are closed to science; the religious obsessives who think only their god can change—or heal—our planet; and those who just don’t care or pay attention.

That being said, I applaud Kolbert for trying. The amount of research she put into The Sixth Extinction is simply impressive. And despite being such an information-filled book, it seldom gets bogged down. Rather than going brain-numb from the onslaught of facts and discoveries, I found myself hungrily devouring them—as if the words were an addictive drug. That’s how a book of this type should read!

So while the majority of The Sixth Extinction’s readers will be people who already “get it” and are already making an effort to slow the extinction in progress, Kolbert’s book can’t help but change a few skeptical minds and prod a few of the uncaring into action. If you are considering purchasing The Sixth Extinction, here’s what I recommend: buy the book now; read it as soon as you can; and then give your copy to a friend or family member—not someone who is hardcore and inconvincible, but someone who is on-the-fence, with enough of an open mind to actually read it.

Extinctions are happening at an alarming rate, and Elizabeth Kolbert does her part to expose the human role in the tragedy. But will her book change the world? No, that is up to us.

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