The End

Natural Disasters, Manmade Catastrophes, and the Future of Human Survival

Marq de Villiers

Thomas Dunne Books

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What is the fate of the world as we know it?

Tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, pandemics, cosmic radiation, gamma bursts from space, colliding comets, and asteroids—these things used to worry us from time to time, but now they have become the background noise of our culture. Are natural calamities indeed more probable, and more frequent, than they were? Are things getting worse? Are the boundaries between natural and human-caused calamities blurring? Are we part of the problem? If so, what can we do about it?

            In The End, award-winning writer Marq de Villiers examines these questions at a time when there is an urgent need to understand the perils that confront us, to act in such a way as best we can for the inevitable disasters when they come.

            We can do nothing about some natural calamities, but about others we can do a great deal. De Villiers helps us understand which is which, and lays out some provocative ideas for mitigating the damage all such calamities can inflict on us and our world.

            The End is a brilliant and challenging look at what lies ahead, and at what we can do to influence our future.

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Book Excerpts

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  PART ONESo What’s the Problem?ONEDoomsday As a State of MindAll kinds of terrible things could happen, and the universe of terrible things is so large that some of them probably will.—Stephen Pacala, Princeton University ecologist

Well there it is, in a nutshell: doomsday as a state of mind. This is not to say that Pacala was wrong, exactly—he was in any case talking about climate change and its effects on the biosphere, and not about the End of Days—but the style of thinking perfectly matches the anxious modern mood.

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Praise for The End

Praise for Water
“Thoroughly readable . . . It will be fascinating to consult this book as the years pass.” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“De Villiers’s important, compelling, highly readable report on the looming global water crisis sounds a wake-up call for concerned citizens, environmentalists, policymakers, and water-drinkers everywhere.”—Publishers Weekly

Praise for Sahara
“A lyrical portrait of a vast, exotic land . . . Wide-ranging, engagingly written.”—The Seattle Times
“This is a cool book about one of the world’s hottest places.”—National Geographic Adventure magazine
“A thoughtful history of, and popular guide to, the great African desert.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Surprises abound in [this] informative natural history of the world’s most famous desert.”—The Dallas Morning News

Praise for Windswept
Windswept serves up a little history, a fair amount of science, and many colorful stories. Mr. de Villiers . . . explains the science clearly, and he describes the working of wind, weather, and the natural world with enormous gusto.”—The New York Times
“A refreshing narrative of meteorology and a different perspective on its history.”New Scientist

In the Press

The Skimmer - TIME
The End By Marq de Villiers Thomas Dunne Books; 368 pages We're doomed. No matter what we do, something is going to get us eventually--a comet already whizzing toward Earth, maybe, or exploding...
- Time Magazine

Reviews from Goodreads


About the Author

Marq de Villiers

Born in South Africa, Marq de Villiers is a veteran journalist and the author of thirteen books on exploration, history, politics, and travel, including Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource (winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction), Sahara: The Life of the Great Desert, and Windswept: The Story of Wind and Weather. He lives near Port Medway, Nova Scotia.

Marq de Villiers


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Available Formats and Book Details

The End
Natural Disasters, Manmade Catastrophes, and the Future of Human Survival
Marq de Villiers

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
March 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429934404
ISBN10: 1429934409
368 pages

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Thomas Dunne Books

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