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The Dating Game: One Man's Search for the Age of the Earth

by Cherry Lewis
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 272 pages.

"It is perhaps a little indelicate to ask of our mother Earth her age, but Science acknowledges no shame." So quipped Arthur Holmes, one of the major figures in the history of attempts to determine the age of the earth, and the subject of Cherry Lewis's lively biography, The Dating Game. The reviewer for Earth Sciences History writes, "it is always a pleasure — and alas, not a common pleasure — to read a really well-written geological biography.

The Map that Changed the World

by Simon Winchester
New York: Harper Perennial, 2002. 352 pages.

In The Map that Changed the World, Simon Winchester tells the practically Dickensian story of William Smith and his struggle to create what was arguably the first true geological map. Winchester writes, "Geology, it seems almost redundant to say, underlies and underpins everything: the site of every city, every gold mine, every field, every island is determined purely by geology — and humanity's condition is more directly influenced by geology than by any other aspect of the natural world.

Time's Arrow/Time's Cycle

by Stephen Jay Gould
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987. 240 pages.

In Time's Arrow/Time's Cycle, Stephen Jay Gould reconsiders the discovery of deep time by focusing on "the three cardinal actors on the British geological stage — the primary villain and the two standard heroes", that is, Thomas Burnet, James Hutton, and Charles Lyell.

Great Geological Controversies

by Antony Hallam
New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. 256 pages.

From the publisher: "a widely acclaimed account of the most celebrated controversies in the history of geology — a book that covers many of the most important ideas that have emerged since the birth of the science. Among the great debates described here are those involving catastrophe theory, uniformitarianism, the discovery of the Ice Age, speculation concerning the age of the earth, and the advent of new ideas on plate tectonics and continental drift. In presenting these key topics, the author opens the fascinating history of geology to a wide audience.

Plate Tectonics: An Insider's History of the Modern Theory of the Earth

edited by Naomi Oreskes
Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001. 448 pages.

In The Rejection of Continental Drift: Theory and Method in American Earth Science, Naomi Oreskes traced the reception of continental drift in American geology from its initial rejection to its eventual acceptance. Now, in Plate Tectonics, she compiled the definitive history of the theory, told by the very scientists who developed and assembled evidence for it.

The Seashell on the Mountaintop

by Alan Cutler
New York: Dutton Adult, 2003. 240 pages.

A new book about Niels Stensen (1638-86) — Nicolaus Stenonius in Latin, or Steno for short — the Danish anatomist-turned-geologist who was arguably the founder of the science of geology. Writing in The New York Times, NCSE President Kevin Padian praised Cutler "for making one think about what qualifies as an explanation, and for exploring the endless debates that mix strands of partial knowledge with the need to reconcile religious testaments."

Hiking the Grand Canyon's Geology

by Lon Abbott and Terri Cook
Seattle, WA: Mountaineers Books, 2004. 301 pages.

For the Hiking Geology series of The Mountaineers Books, Lon Abbott and Terri Cook have produced a hiker's guide to the Grand Canyon that explains the geology in loving expert detail, literally step by step. Eighteen excursions are detailed, ranging — as the publisher writes — "from the most popular rim-to-river trails (Havasu Canyon Trail) to gentle, half-day rim walks (Red Butte Trail) to rugged and remote multi-day backpack trips (Lava Falls Route)" and including useful information on permits, lodging and camping, and mule rides.

Grand Canyon Geology, second edition

edited by Stanley S. Beus and Michael Morales
New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. 448 pages.

From the publisher: "This second edition of the leading book on Grand Canyon geology contains the most recent discoveries and interpretations of the origin and history of the canyon. It includes two entirely new chapters: one on debris flow in the Canyon and one on Holocene deposits in the canyon. All chapters have been updated where necessary and all photographs have been replaced or re-screened for better resolution.

An Introduction to Grand Canyon Geology

by L. Greer Price
Grand Canyon, AZ: Grand Canyon Association, 1999. 63 pages.

Geologist L. Greer Price worked for the National Park Service for ten years, mainly in Grand Canyon National Park, and his experience in explaining the geology of the canyon to the parks visitors is evident on every page of his brief (64-page) introduction, enlivened with dozens of photographs. Basic geological principles, including plate tectonics, structural features and their significance, and the role of erosion, are introduced and emphasized throughout; a glossary and a full index enhance the book's usefulness.

How the Canyon Became Grand: A Short History

by Stephen J. Pyne
New York: Penguin Books, 1999. 240 pages.

From the publisher: "Exploring more than four hundred years of human contact with the Grand Canyon, Stephen J. Pyne chronicles the creation of one of Americas greatest icons. The Canyon was discovered in 1540 by Spanish explorers, but dismissed as worthless and immediately forgotten; three centuries passed before it came to be recognized by Westerners for the natural wonder that it is. Merging environmental, social, intellectual, and political history, Pyne takes us on a wondrous journey of discovery.

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