Title: Life On Earth
Author: David Attenborough
Page Count/Review Word Count: 324
If you’re familiar with the work of David Attenborough then you know roughly what to expect here. This is basically the great naturalist’s narrative on how life on earth came about, and it’s thoroughly fascinating if you’re interested in animals – although also occasionally intimidating as well.
My copy of it is maybe forty years old, but it’s still pretty interesting and it’s all up-to-date in most areas – except for where Attenborough said there were four billion humans on the planet. It also comes with plenty of high quality imagery because he wrote the book at the same time as filming the documentary series of the same name, so he’s able to tap into the footage from the show and from other wildlife photographers. Sometimes they take up both pages of a two-page spread, which means they’re shown in fantastic quality – and that it’s easier to whizz through pages than you might first imagine.
I think the most interesting aspect of this book is actually the little things that you learn about different animals, although I find it hard to think of a specific example. But it’s cool when he tells you about the animal with the largest eyes in relation to the rest of its body (I think it was a lemur at 250 times larger in proportion than human eyes) and then you turn the page and see a photo of it.
All in all then, this book definitely isn’t for everyone – and in fact, I suspect it’s meant as more of a coffee table book than as one that you’d pick up and read from cover to cover. Nevertheless, that’s what I did and I enjoyed it, and so if you’re an animal lover or you think that biology is just fascinating, you’re going to like it. If not, you still might.