Ten Million Aliens: A Journey Through the Entire Animal Kingdom

Simon Barnes. Atria/Marble Arch, $27.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-4767-3035-6
Barnes (How to Be a Birdwatcher), an English sports writer, nature writer, and novelist, embarks on a vast survey of the animal kingdom. The 460 pages of descriptions of various phyla are a joy to read: funny, thoughtful, informative, and wise. Barnes divides the world’s creatures into vertebrates and invertebrates, alternating his 130 short chapters between the two. A superb writer, he packs an amazing amount of material into each brief chapter, and makes stories about tiny velvet worms, giant squid, peripatetic albatrosses, and sessile barnacles equally captivating. His scientific facts are well chosen and creatively mixed with firsthand descriptions of his travels across Africa, Great Britain, and beyond. Barnes is as comfortable discussing crickets as cricket and weaves literature with natural history. Without moralizing, Barnes also situates Homo sapiens as just one species within the animal kingdom, forcing readers to think about the damage we are doing to so many of our fellow species. The book is all but impossible to put down, and for good measure, Barnes explains the process of evolution as well as any popular science writer. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 02/17/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 480 pages - 978-1-78072-142-2
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4767-3036-3
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-5011-1718-3
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