Simon Winchester, Author, Simon Winchester, Read by , read by the author. HarperAudio $34.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-694-52271-2

As he did in The Professor and the Madman, Winchester chooses an obscure historical character who is inherently fascinating, but whose life and work have also had a strong impact on civilization. Here is William Smith, the orphan son of a village blacksmith, with lots of pluck and little luck—until the end of his life when this pioneering first geological cartographer of the world beneath our feet was finally and fully recognized. Smith's life illustrates the interconnectedness of early 19th-century science, the industrial revolution, an intellectual climate that permits a look beyond religious dogma, and the class biases that endlessly impede his finances and fortunes. Published in 1815, Smith's huge and beautiful map of geological strata and the fossils imbedded in them blazed the way for Darwin and the creation-vs.-evolution debates that rage even day. Winchester is a fine stylist who also has a fine, clear reading voice. He fully engages listeners, not only with the excitement of Smith's life and work, but even with geological explications that would have been pretty dull in science class. Simultaneous release with HarperCollins hardcover (Forecasts, June 4). (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 10/01/2001
Release date: 08/01/2001
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-06-019361-4
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-06-093180-3
Paperback - 978-0-06-050115-0
Hardcover - 256 pages - 978-0-06-620963-0
Paperback - 329 pages - 978-0-06-176790-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-079979-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-694-52521-8
Hardcover - 439 pages - 978-1-58724-153-6
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-14-028039-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-074607-0
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