The Face of the Earth

The Face of the Earth : Natural Landscapes, Science, and Culture

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This lively book sweeps across dramatic and varied terrains - volcanoes and glaciers, billabongs and canyons, prairies and rain forests - to explore how humans have made sense of our planet's marvelous landscapes. In a rich weave of scientific, cultural, and personal stories, "The Face of the Earth" examines mirages and satellite images, swamp-dwelling heroes and Tibetan nomads, cave paintings and popular movies, investigating how we live with the great shaping forces of nature - from fire to changing climates and the intricacies of adaptation. The book illuminates subjects as diverse as the literary life of hollow Earth theories, the links between the Little Ice Age and Frankenstein's monster, and the spiritual allure of deserts and their scarce waters. Including vivid, on-the-spot accounts by scientists and writers in Saudi Arabia, Australia, Alaska, England, the Rocky Mountains, Antarctica, and elsewhere, "The Face of the Earth" charts the depth and complexity of our interdependence with the natural world.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 334 pages
  • 150 x 230 x 16mm | 458.13g
  • University of California Press
  • Berkerley, United States
  • English
  • 0520269276
  • 9780520269279
  • 2,173,654

Review quote

"Engaging... The Face of the Earth is like none you have read before." -- Gioia Woods Northern Arizona University Interdisciplinary Studies In Literature And Environment "Remarkable... Dazzling... A sophisticated and varied exploration... Spectacular... The Face of the Earth is indeed a source for wonder." -- Ruth Morgan Environment & History
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About Sue Ellen Campbell

SueEllen Campbell is Professor in the Department of English at Colorado State University. She is the author of Even Mountains Vanish: Searching for Solace in An Age of Extinction and Bringing the Mountain Home, among other books.
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"To comprehend climate change via arts and humanities as well as science and engineering demands either a Leonardo da Vinci or the gentle audacity and magisterial breadth of SueEllen Campbell."--Richard C. J. Somerville, Scripps Institution of Oceanography "A masterful combination of the precision and power of the sciences with the lyricism and insight of the humanities. Campbell and her colleagues have succeeded by braiding clear, accurate scientific explanation with forays into mythological and literary expressions of the human relationship to Earth."--Michael P. Branch, editor of John Muir's Last Journey "The authors of this astonishingly original project explore nature's meanings in ways that blend the insights of plate tectonics and evolution with imagery from authors such as Dante, Milton, and the Brontes. Dozens of vivid personal narratives, written by a community of writers, ground such perspectives in explorations of rifts, bogs, volcanoes, forests, grasslands, and deserts. From all these diverse encounters with the face of nature can arise a more alert and appreciative receptiveness to the living patterns of which we ourselves are part."--John Elder, author of Reading the Mountains and The Frog Run "Sparkling science writing, cultural and artistic insights about deep time human history, and superb personal essays on place may never have been combined so winningly in a volume as they are in The Face of the Earth. I could not put this book down. Its evocative ideas and rendered experiences delight the mind like embers from a stirred campfire."--Dan Flores, author of The Natural West and Visions of the Big Sky
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Table of contents

Introduction Chapter 1. Landscapes of Internal Fire On the Spot: Over a River of Lava (SueEllen Campbell) Prologue Imagining the Interior On the Spot: At the Edge of an Overthrust Belt (Scott Denning) Mundus subterraneus On the Spot: Among the Aeolian Islands (John Calderazzo) The Globe, Tectonic Plates, and Mountain Building On the Spot: Along the Disturbance Gradient (Charles Goodrich) Volcanoes and Their Eruptions On the Spot: Approaching Chaiten Volcano (Fred Swanson) Hot Springs and Geysers Chapter 2. Climate and Ice Prologue On the Spot: Up and down the Himalaya (Ellen Wohl) How the Climate Works The Ghosts of Climates Past On the Spot: On the Burren (Gerald Delahunty) Our Ice Age Landscapes Shaped by Ice On the Spot: In the Channeled Scablands (Mark Fiege) Ice-Age Humans On the Spot: On the Arctic Tundra (Ellen Wohl) The Little Ice Age, Glaciology, and the Sublime On the Spot: Toward a Glacier's Edge (Ana Maria Spagna) The Story Now Chapter 3. Wet and Fluid Prologue On the Spot: In the Rocky Intertidal Zone (Kathleen Dean Moore) The Water Cycle On the Spot: Along a Rain Forest Stream (Ellen Wohl) The Moving Waters of Rivers The Dream of Water in Deserts The Slow Water of Wetlands On the Spot: At the Bog on Ceide Fields (Gerald Delahunty) Peat, Mires, Bogs, Fens On the Spot: At Wicken Fen (Richard Kerridge) Marshes and Swamps Wet/Dry On the Spot: At the Billabong (Deborah Bird Rose) Chapter 4. Desert Places, Desert Lives Prologue On the Spot: Down a Desert River Canyon (SueEllen Campbell) Dry, Hot, Windy, and Dusty On the Spot: In Jabal Aja' (Othman Llewellyn and Aishah Abdallah) What We See On the Spot: In the Chihuahuan Desert (Tom Lynch) Clever Plants On the Spot: In the Red Center (Deborah Bird Rose) Clever Creatures On the Spot: In the Negev Desert (Ellen Wohl) The Human Desert Chapter 5. The Complexities of the Real Prologue Underfoot On the Spot: In Antarctica's Dry Valleys (Diana Wall) Oceans of Grass The Shapes of Complexity On the Spot: On the Chalk Downs (Richard Kerridge) Evolving Together ... On the Spot: In the Tallgrass Prairie (Bruce Campbell) ... And Moving Apart On the Spot: On the Tibetan Plateau (Julia Klein) Among Trees On the Spot: In a Eucalypt Forest (Kate Rigby) Zooming In Return to Wonder Epilogue: In a High Flower Meadow (SueEllen Campbell) Sources Contributor Biographies Acknowledgments Index
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