* I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book. *
It's perhaps a little unexpected that an Australian scientist would tackle such a vast and complicated subject as the natural history of Europe, but Tim Flannery makes a pretty fair fist of the job. His varied background as a palaeontologist, mammalogist and environmental scientist stands him in good stead here.
The book starts with the clunky device of a time machine to take the reader back to the pre-history of Europe in a geological sense, discussing how the continent gradually formed from the original Pangea and became what we know today. Flannery takes us to sites where the evidence and impact of the changes can be seen.
The book then roughly works through each successive geological era to describe what happened to Europe itself and to its fauna and flora. Perhaps the most surprising thing revealed here is that humans originated in Europe, died out there and then returned from Africa much later. Similarly, there is a long list of megafauna that we traditionally think of as African that once thrived in Europe.
Overall, considering the vastness of the topic, this is a credible and always interesting overview of the development of Europe and its inhabitants from pre-history through to modern times.