Bones, Rocks and Stars: The Science of When Things Happened

Chris Turney, Author Macmillan $24.95 (182p) ISBN 978-1-4039-8599-6
In the tradition of Malcolm Gladwell, geologist Turney provides an absorbing look into the ways humans reckon time both in their daily lives and in their view of the past. Bringing together science and history in a populist, intellectual adventure, Turney takes on an eclectic roster of world-class mysteries, from the identity of King Arthur and the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin to the age of the cosmos. Turney presents his arcane topics-such as the effect of earth's orbital irregularities on the construction of the pyramids-with the ease and affability of your favorite college professor, and narrates the history of these mysteries with a keen sense of drama. Although each of the chapters seems at first glance to be distinct from the rest (the calendar, comets, ice ages, megafauna, the Missing Link, and dinosaurs among them), the work is actually a single investigation broken into many parts, whose underlying unity emerges gradually. Though Turney means for the book to provide a refutation of Creationism (which he feels has no place in scientific discourse or education), he limits his engagement with the issue to the introduction and epilogue, wisely letting his subject matter speak for itself. This book will appeal to a wide audience, particularly those who got a kick out of Blink or Freakonomics.
Reviewed on: 06/12/2006
Release date: 06/01/2006
Paperback - 188 pages - 978-0-230-55194-7
Ebook - 200 pages - 978-0-230-55230-2
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