New York : Bantam Books, 1994.
LibraryThing member KeithAkers
I had earlier read and liked Ward's book, "The Medea Hypothesis," and was impressed by the way he explained things as well as his original ways of looking at the evidence. I read this book because I wanted to know about biodiversity. Ward explains extinction basically by looking at the history of extinctions and the three great extinctions, as he puts it. He is quite objective and while he does have ideas on this or that subject, he does not have a pet point of view which he pushes to the exclusion of all others. He gives the arguments for both sides and the history of our understanding of the subject. The main things I didn't like about the book are that he actually doesn't talk very much about the preservation of biodiversity or its relevance. He does discuss them, though. After you read the rest of the book, though, you get a sense of why he doesn't do this, although I wish he had been more explicit about it. I think he doesn't see the decline of biodiversity as a direct threat to human existence; it's more of a moral issue. I notice, also, that not too many books are being written about biodiversity these days. Why is that, do you suppose? I think it's because the discussion of biodiversity has ceased to be a fashionable subject, and because it's so complex that it's hard to answer questions like "how bad is it?" or "is humanity in peril because of biodiversity decline?" After reading Ward's book, you don't get answers to these questions, but you do get a sense of why these questions are hard to answer.