…The planet, life & people from the big bang to the present day…

what-on-earthSynopsys (from book cover):

How old is the universe? When did life on earth begin? What happened to dinosaurs? How was the moon created? How did ancient Chinese science shape the modern world? How did Islam trigger globalisation? Are humans really superior to other living things? And how can you fit the complete history of the planet into one pocket-sized book?

These are just some of the questions answered in CHRISTOPHER LLOYD’s acclaimed 13.7-billion-year-history,  now in brief. In this thrill-ride across millennia and continents, the complete history of the planet unfolds: from the Earth’s fiery birth to life’s near-obliteration in the Triassic period, and from the first signs of humanity to the tentative future of a world with a burgeoning population and a global warming crisis. Covering a wide range of topics including astrophysics, zoology and sociology, and complete with maps and illustrations, WHAT ON EARTH HAPPENED?…IN BRIEF is an endlessly entertaining story of the planet, life and people.


This book is an abridged version of What on Earth Happened, it was first serialised in The Independent newspaper in February this year. It quite literally takes  the reader through time from the big bang to the present day.

It covers life before man, human evolution and both ancient and modern history. In fact it covers just about everything you can think of in the history of the planet. Written in chronological order I gives a great perspective, showing how different events relate to each other and how they shaped the history of the planet. It helps bind separate bits of knowledge together and put them in context with everything else. The timespan is condensed to fit into a 24 hour clock making it easier to see when things took place.

It comes complete with colour plates, time lines and top 10 lists cover important events and species. Most importantly, it has an index.

Despite the nature of the subject, it is very easy to read and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.  I enjoyed it so much I have purchased the unabridged hardback copy and am looking forward to reading even more interesting snippets from planet earth.

If that has whetted your appetite you can find out more information from the book’s website.

12 Comments CherryPie on Aug 3rd 2009

12 Responses to “What on Earth Happened?…In Brief by Christopher Lloyd”

  1. jameshigham says:

    We’re at 11:59, aren’t we?

  2. Phidelm says:

    Hadn’t heard of this book, Cherie – so very grateful to you for the detailed intro and recommendation: thank you. Have you seen Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s film ‘Home’ yet? Might interest you also.

    • CherryPie says:

      Hi Phidelm thank you for pointing that film out to me I hadn’t heard of it before and I must take time to watch it. I do have Yann’s book and have also seen his exhibition twice when I have been abroad on my holidays.

  3. Sounds fascinating Cherie

  4. Chris Lloyd says:

    Hi Cherie,

    So glad you have enjoyed the book and thanks for your positive feedback. If any of your blog readers want to ask me any questions about the book, then fire away – i’ll reply as soon as I can. There’s also a follow up volume which I have been working on for the last 18 months and which comes out in October – it’s called What on Earth Evolved? 100 Species that Changed the World and is another way of reviewing the history of life on earth as seen through the lens of 100 different species, 50 of which evolved in the wild before man and 50 that have thrived as a result of human interference (artificial selection). Full details, if anyone is interested, at http://www.whatonearthevolevd.com. Perhaps you could come to the launch, which is on Thursday 8th October, at The Royal Insitution in Piccadilly? – let me know and I’ll get you a ticket….

    All the best,

    Chris Lloyd

  5. CherryPie says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I really enjoyed the book and it has caught the interest of my friends and work colleagues too. In fact the paperback version has gone walk about!

    Your new book sounds really interesting too and I shall be looking out for it when it is published.

    I am really interested in coming to your new book’s launch. I would like to take you up on your offer of a ticket to the event, would it be possible for you to get two tickets?

  6. Chris Lloyd says:

    They normally cost £8 (unfortunately, it’s a charge the RI makes which can’t be avoided) but it’s a terrific venue. I’ll see if I can get you two complimentary tickets – email me your postal address and let me see what I can do…. (chris@bigbang2911.com).

    Be great if you can come…..


  7. [...] and historian Chris Lloyd, who wrote the book What on Earth Happened? will be joining the voyage for the first leg of the journey to Tenerife.

  8. [...] quite so soon after my last one, but after I reviewed Christopher Lloyd’s previous book he commented on my blog and sent me tickets to the launch of his new book.