The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
Bloomsbury, $29.99 pb, 319 pp, 9781408851227
‘When the world changes faster than species can adapt, many fall out,’ writes Elizabeth Kolbert towards the end of her study on the mounting wave of extinction we are living through – and causing. The list of species dispatched by humans, directly or indirectly, is growing every day, yet Kolbert isn’t merely ringing alarm bells or giving a dour post-mortem. As the book’s subtitle suggests, she is interested in the history of extinction itself, from the very concept (which isn’t nearly as old as you might think) to its most dramatic examples to date.