By Stanley A. Rice, Prometheus Books, $28.00, 255 pages

10Have you ever seen the largest organism on Earth? The General Sherman tree is over 2,000 years old and lives in Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevadas of California. You should visit now because in five billion years it will be gone. Stanley A. Rice discusses this and other examples of the consequences of global warming in his book Life of Earth: Portrait of a Beautiful, Middle-Aged Stressed-Out World.

In telling the story of Earth, Rice focuses on evolutionary developments that have shaped our planet. His discussion includes chapters on symbiosis, sexual selection, and altruism. The beginning reads like a college textbook, which makes sense considering he is a Professor of Biological Studies at the University of Oklahoma. The second half is filled with a great amount of dogma. If you are someone with firm religious beliefs, this may not be the book for you. Rice is a supporter of the theory of evolution. He does not add much to the origin of life debate, other than saying one theory is wrong and the other is right. Whether or not this is a book for you, everyone should get a chance to see the General Sherman sequoia.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin