This book is something of an "odd man out" in Haynes "Owners' Workshop Manual" series. David Baker has written a number of excellent books on manned and unmanned spaceflight, so when I learned that he would be doing a "manual" on our home planet, my curiosity was genuinely peaked. The result is kind of awkward; very nice visually, rather dense on a factual level, but rather dull and unimaginative as a Haynes manual. The illustrations, photographs, and charts are numerous and superb. The text is surprisingly in-depth for a novelty title. Dr. Baker goes all the way back to the Big Bang and the formation of the Solar System, before describing the planet's geology, the evolution of the atmosphere and oceans, plate tectonics, the history of life on Earth, and where it's headed. I'd go so far to say this book would make an excellent introduction to geology and Earth science.
Unfortunately, this book doesn't take advantage of the format or do anything particularly interesting with it. The entire book reads like a High School geology textbook that's been Frankensteined to fit the Haynes format. There are no "how it works" asides, side tables, or useful appendixes, as you'd expect from other books in the series. Reading it from cover to cover was a rather tiring experience, a problem I haven't had with other Haynes titles. I greatly enjoyed Haynes' recent Moon manual, which stuck closely to their established format, and focused mainly on lunar science, rather than attempt to be an in-depth history of the Moon.
In all fairness, this book it quite useful as a primer on geology. I probably would have rated it higher if not for the "Owners' Workshop Manual" moniker and the expectations that came from it. There's some fascinating material here, but Haynes was the wrong publisher for it.
- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: HAYNES PUBLISHING GROUP (3 November 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0857338102
- ISBN-13: 978-0857338105
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.9 x 27.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 962 g
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