Book cover of Super Volcanoes: What They Reveal about Earth and the Worlds Beyond by Robin George Andrews
Earth Sciences

Super Volcanoes: What They Reveal about Earth and the Worlds Beyond 

An exhilarating, time-traveling journey to the solar system’s strangest and most awe-inspiring volcanoes.

Volcanoes are capable of acts of pyrotechnical prowess verging on magic: they spout black magma more fluid than water, create shimmering cities of glass at the bottom of the ocean and frozen lakes of lava on the moon, and can even tip entire planets over. Between lava that melts and re-forms the landscape, and noxious volcanic gases that poison the atmosphere, volcanoes have threatened life on Earth countless times in our planet’s history. […Learn More]

Book cover of A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet by Jo Handelsman
Earth Sciences

A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet

This book by celebrated biologist Jo Handelsman lays bare the complex connections among climate change, soil erosion, food and water security, and drug discovery.
 
Humans depend on soil for 95 percent of global food production, yet let it erode at unsustainable rates. In the United States, China, and India, vast tracts of farmland will be barren of topsoil within this century. The combination of intensifying erosion caused by climate change and the increasing food needs of a growing world population is creating a desperate need for solutions to this crisis. […Learn More]

Book cover of When the Sahara Was Green: How Our Greatest Desert Came to Be by Martin Williams
Africa

When the Sahara Was Green: How Our Greatest Desert Came to Be

The little-known history of how the Sahara was transformed from a green and fertile land into the largest hot desert in the world

The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world, equal in size to China or the United States. Yet, this arid expanse was once a verdant, pleasant land, fed by rivers and lakes. The Sahara sustained abundant plant and animal life, such as Nile perch, turtles, crocodiles, and hippos, and attracted prehistoric hunters and herders. […Learn More]

Book cover of Water: A Biography by Giulio Boccaletti
Earth Sciences

Water: A Biography

Writing with authority and brio, Giulio Boc­caletti—honorary research associate at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Univer­sity of Oxford—shrewdly combines environmental and social history, beginning with the earliest civ­ilizations of sedentary farmers on the banks of the Nile, the Tigris, and the Euphrates Rivers. Even as he describes how these societies were made possible by sea-level changes from the last glacial melt, he incisively examines how this type of farming led to irrigation and multiple cropping, which, in turn, led to a population explosion and labor specialization. […Learn More]

Engineering & Transportation

Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age

A quest to explore some of the most spectacular ancient cities in human history―and figure out why people abandoned them.

In Four Lost Cities, acclaimed science journalist Annalee Newitz takes readers on an entertaining and mind-bending adventure into the deep history of urban life. Investigating across the centuries and around the world, Newitz explores the rise and fall of four ancient cities, each the center of a sophisticated civilization: the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman vacation town of Pompeii on Italy’s southern coast, the medieval megacity of Angkor […Learn More]

Book Cover of Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane
Earth Sciences

Underland: A Deep Time Journey

From the best-selling, award-winning author of Landmarks and The Old Ways, a haunting voyage into the planet’s past and future.

Hailed as “the great nature writer of this generation” (Wall Street Journal), Robert Macfarlane is the celebrated author of books about the intersections of the human and the natural realms. In Underland, he delivers his masterpiece: an epic exploration of the Earth’s underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.   […Learn More]