Earth: The Operator’s Manual

by Richard B. Alley

New York: W. W. Norton, 2011. 479 pages.

“This is a terrific book,” writes reviewer Daniel Bedford. “‘The burning question’ examines the history of humanity’s relationship to energy sources, raising the intriguing possibility that we are human partly because of our use of energy, in the form of cooking; ‘Learning while we burn’ is an extensive discussion of climate science and how past climate changes clearly show that carbon dioxide has been ‘the biggest control knob’ of earth’s climate machine over geologic time. Throughout, there is an emphasis on the processes of science and how and why science ultimately produces reliable information.”