Here are a few of the many books I’ve got my editorial paws on over the years…
100 Places You Will Never Visit
Quercus, September 2012
The world is full of secret places that we either don’t know about, or couldn’t visit even if we wanted to. Now you can glimpse the Tora Bora caves in Afghanistan, visit the Tuscon Titan Missile Site, tour the Vatican Archives, or see the Chapel of the Ark. This fascinating guide book takes a look at 100 places around the world that are either so hard to reach, so closely guarded, or so secret that they are virtually impossible to visit any other way.
Earth in 100 Groundbreaking Discoveries
Quercus, August 2011
An illustrated survey of 100 key events in Earth’s dramatic history. Earth in 100 Groundbreaking Discoveries is a fascinating account of the discoveries that reveal why Earth is the one planet in our solar system that can support life. It surveys 100 key events in the evolutionary history of our planet, from its origins and geological formation 4.5 billion years ago to the astonishing diversity of flora and fauna in the present day. More than 200 computer-generated images, photographs and illustrations highlight concise text that describes critical developments and junctures in Earth’s evolution.
Evolution: The Story of Life
Douglas Palmer, illustrated by Peter Barrett
Mitchell Beazley, September 2009
This astonishing new book uses all the available fossil record as evidence to present the entire four-billion-year story of life on Earth in one single super-panoramic tableau. Never before has our collective story been told so effectively, so compellingly, so coherently, and so beautifully. At the heart of the book is an astonishing 50m-long artwork displayed across 200 pages, supported by hundreds of photographs and illustrations, that tells the story of life on Earth. The groundbreaking visual content is complemented by an authoritative text commentary, making Evolution a unique work of family reference, complete with an A-Z of hundreds of species that are shown in the artwork, background information on the theory of evolution, illustrated family trees for the major anaimal groups, stunning photography of life’s modern diversity, and details of where all the crucial fossil evidence can be seen today.
The Ancestor’s Tale
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, October 2004
The Ancestor’s Tale is a pilgrimage back through time; a journey on which we meet up with fellow pilgrims as we and they converge on our common ancestors. Chimpanzees join us at about 6 million years in the past, orang utans at 14 million years, as we stride on together, a growing band. The journey provides the setting for a collection of some 40 tales. Each explores an aspect of evolutionary biology through the stories of characters met along the way. The tales are interspersed with prologues detailing the journey, route maps showing joining lineages, and life-like reconstructions of our common ancestors. The Ancestor’s Tale represents a pilgrimage on an unimaginable scale: our goal is four billion years away, and the number of pilgrims joining us grows vast – ultimately encompassing all living creatures. At the end of the journey lies something remarkable in its simplicity and transformative power: the first, humble, replicating molecules.
Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, September 2004
Quantum mechanics underpins modern science and provides us with a blueprint for reality itself. And yet it has been said that if you’re not shocked by it, you don’t understand it. But is quantum physics really so unknowable? Is reality really so strange? And just how can cats be half-alive and half-dead at the same time?
Our journey into the quantum begins with nature’s own conjuring trick, in which we discover that atoms — contrary to the rules of everyday experience — can exist in two locations at once. To understand this we travel back to the dawn of the twentieth century and witness the birth of quantum theory, which over the next one hundred years was to overthrow so many of our deeply held notions about the nature of our universe. Scientists and philosophers have been left grappling with its implications every since.