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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.

Noah's Flood: The Genesis Story in Western Thought

by Norman Cohn
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999. 168 pages.

With the aid of 75 illustrations, including 20 color plates, the distinguished medieval historian Norman Cohn explores the origins, development, and variety of interpretations of the familiar tale of the Noachian deluge.

When the Great Abyss Opened

by J. David Pleins
New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 242 pages.

In his lively, ambitious, and engaging study, Pleins — Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University — investigates the cultural significance of the story of Noah's flood, discussing the connections and conflicts among geology, archeology, myth, literature, the Bible, and popular culture. (A chapter is devoted to "Fundamentalist literalism and 'creation science'.") Michael Ruse writes, "This fascinating book opens up a completely new light on a topic about which we all think we know something and about which we learn we knew very little.

Missing Links: Evolutionary Concepts & Transitions Through Time

by Robert A. Martin
Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2004. 304 pages.

Reviewing Martin's Missing Links for Reports of the NCSE, Kenneth D. Angielczyk described it as "an easy-to-read introduction to the science of paleontology ... Martin's examples span many scales of evolutionary transition, from subtle tooth morphology in voles to the origins of birds, mammals, and tetrapods ... any attentive reader will come away from the book with questions and wanting to learn more about evolution."

Ancient Earth, Ancient Skies: The Age of Earth and Its Cosmic Surroundings

by G. Brent Dalrymple
Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004. 247 pages.

Whereas The Age of the Earth was aimed at the general scientific public, Ancient Earth, Ancient Skies is aimed at the common reader, and it succeeds magnificently in clearly explaining the methods and results used by scientists in ascertaining the age of the earth and of the universe. Writing in RNCSE (2005 Jan–Apr; 25 [1–2]: 45–46), Timothy Heaton described Ancient Earth, Ancient Skies as "a much-needed contribution to scientific education ...

The Origin and Early Evolution of Life

by Tom Fenchel
Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2003. 192 pages.

"This book," Tom Fenchel explains, "is about the development of life from its origin and until multicellular plants, fungi, and animals arose — corresponding approximately to the time period from 4 to 0.6 billion years ago." The reviewer for BioEssays writes, "The classical, recurrent themes are treated in a clear and interesting style of writing.

Life on a Young Planet

by Andrew H. Knoll
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004. 304 pages.

From the origin of life to the Cambrian explosion, Knoll draws not only on paleontology but also on the latest insights from molecular biology, ecology, and the earth sciences to produce a broad understanding of the emergence of biological diversity. Sean Carroll (the author of Endless Forms Most Beautiful) writes, "This is a truly great book. It is a remarkably readable synthesis of many diverse ideas selected from a breathaking array of disciplines.

The Chronologers' Quest: The Search for the Age of the Earth

by Patrick Wyse Jackson
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 291 pages.

In The Chronologers' Quest, Patrick Wyse Jackson recounts the fascinating story of attempts to ascertain the age of the earth, starting with prescientific mythology and sacred chronology, continuing through the rise of scientific geology in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, and culminating with the advent of radioisotope dating methods, which show that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

Bursting the Limits of Time

by Martin J. S. Rudwick
Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2005. 732 pages.

From the publisher: "Highlighting a discovery that radically altered existing perceptions of a human's place in the universe as much as the theories of Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud did, Bursting the Limits of Time is a herculean effort by one of the world's foremost experts on the history of geology and paleontology to sketch this historicization of the natural world in the age of revolution.

Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway

by Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll
Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2007. 204 pages.

From the publisher: "Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway follows the zany travels of a paleontologist and an artist as they drive across the American West in search of fossils. Throughout their journey, they encounter 'paleonerds' like themselves, men and women dedicated to finding everything from suburban T. rexes to killer Eocene pigs to ancient fossilized forests.


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