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A select guide to great coffee-table books
A HISTORY OF EARTH IN 100 GROUNDBREAKING DISCOVERIES By Douglas Palmer (Firefly, 415 pages, $29.95) As far as we know, our solar system has given rise to life on one planet alone, our own. This paperback volume explores why this is so, explaining in detail the key scientific discoveries that have laid the basis of our current understanding. Spanning the moment of the Earth’s creation to the speculative future, Palmer’s lucid text lays out answers to the key questions.
ANIMAL LIFE Secrets of the Animal World Revealed By Charlotte Uhlenbroek (American Museum of Natural History/DK, 512 pages, $30.95) A fascinating romp through the animal kingdom. Organized into three parts – Animal Kingdom, Animal Anatomy and Animal Behaviour – this book conveys information in an action-packed, visually stunning way. There is a lot to look at and a lot to learn. A must for your budding zoologist.
ATLAS OF OCEANS An Ecological Survey of Underwater Life By John Farndon (Yale University Press, 256 pages, $50) A brilliant, lavishly illustrated and timely account of the evolution of the world’s marine bodies of water and the ecological disaster that is unfolding underneath, within and around them. Skillfully written for a general audience, the book reminds us we can not survive without healthy seas, and delivers a persuasive wake-up call.
AURORAS Fire in the Sky By Dan Bortolotti, photos by Yuichi Takasaka (Firefly, 143 pages, $29.95) Beautiful photos of the strange dancing lights we too rarely see in our night sky, along with text explaining the controversies over the physics of the upper atmosphere. Aurora borealis are sometimes bright enough to cast shadows on the ground, we learn, and the most intense and unusual are red – which caused terror in medieval times. An intense solar storm in March, 1989, led not only to spectacular auroras, but caused a nine-hour power outage in Quebec.