Life: An Unauthorised Biography: A Natural History of the First Four Thousand Million Years of Life on Earth - Richard Fortey

TITLE:  Life:  An Unauthorised Biography

             [A Natural History of the First

             4 000 000 000 Years of Life on Earth]


AUTHOR:  Richard Fortey




FORMAT:  Paperback


ISBN-13:  978-0-00-638420-5



Professor Fortey takes the reader on a chronological tour of the the biological history of Earth.  However, his story is not a boring slog through the strata, but an eclectic stroll among fascinating organisms.  Fortey includes many asides in his narrative, including important aspects of geology, portraits of eccentric paleontologists and personal anecdotes about fossil hunting is unusual locations.  This book manages to summarise paleontological controversies in a fair manner without bogging down the story.  I found the author's descriptive writing style to be rich and lyrical.  This book is well written and interesting, with numerous black and white photographs. 


Fortey believes that "a review of the history of life should provoke awe, above all else."  I believe in this case, he has achieved his goal.


More specific comments on this book can be found on progress updates:

Chapter 1-4

Chapter 5-8

Chapter 9-13