Cover of: Wonderful Life | Stephen Jay Gould
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An edition of Wonderful Life (1989)

Wonderful Life

The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

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This edition was published in by W. W. Norton

Written in English

352 pages

What would the world have been like, if George Bailey of "It's A Wonderful Life" hadn't been born?

George was lucky enough to have an angel that could roll back the tape of life and show him how things would have been different. He learned that one contingency changes everything.

In "Wonderful LIfe", an homage to the American classic film, "It's A Wonderful Life", Stephen J. Gould plays the role of the angel, rolling back the tape of life a half billion years for his readers through the lens of the Burgess Shale (British Columbia), arguably the most important fossil site on the planet. His theme of contingency plays out as he discusses the many unique forms of life that might have, if things had gone differently, become the dominant forms on this planet, and how they contrast with those of today -- the one's that survived. Along the way he tells the story of the discovery and discovers of the Shale, how it was first interpreted in terms of prevalent beliefs about the origins of life, and how it has subsequently been re-interpreted in light of knowledge.

So enjoy the "film", but be sure to bring along a cup of coffee and a dictionary -- with Gould's intense writing style you're likely to need both!

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Previews available in: English

Edition Availability
Cover of: Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life
August 3, 2000, Vintage
Cover of: Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life
August 3, 2000, Vintage
Paperback - New Ed edition
Cover of: Wonderful life
Wonderful life: the Burgess shale and the nature of history
1991, Penguin
in English
Cover of: Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History
September 1, 1990, W. W. Norton
in English
Cover of: Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale And The Nature Of History
August 1, 1990, Books on Tape, Inc.
Audio cassette
Cover of: Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life: Burgess Shale and the Nature of History
1990, Radius
Hardcover
Cover of: Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life: Burgess Shale and the Nature of History
1990, Radius
Cover of: Wonderful life
Wonderful life: the Burgess Shale and the nature of history
1990, Hutchinson Radius
in English
Cover of: Wonderful life.
Wonderful life.
1989, W. W. Norton
in English
Cover of: Wonderful life
Wonderful life: the Burgess Shale and the nature of history
1989, W.W. Norton
in English - 1st ed.
Cover of: Wonderful Life
Wonderful Life: Burgess Shale
January 1989, Books on Tape
Audio cassette in English
Cover of: Wonderful life
Wonderful life: the Burgess Shale and the nature of history
Publish date unknown, W.W. Norton
- 1st ed.

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Wonderful Life

First published in 1989



Work Description

What would the world have been like, if George Bailey of "It's A Wonderful Life" hadn't been born?

George was lucky enough to have an angel that could roll back the tape of life and show him how things would have been different. He learned that one contingency changes everything.

In "Wonderful LIfe", an homage to the American classic film, "It's A Wonderful Life", Stephen J. Gould plays the role of the angel, rolling back the tape of life a half billion years for his readers through the lens of the Burgess Shale (British Columbia), arguably the most important fossil site on the planet. His theme of contingency plays out as he discusses the many unique forms of life that might have, if things had gone differently, become the dominant forms on this planet, and how they contrast with those of today -- the one's that survived. Along the way he tells the story of the discovery and discovers of the Shale, how it was first interpreted in terms of prevalent beliefs about the origins of life, and how it has subsequently been re-interpreted in light of knowledge.

So enjoy the "film", but be sure to bring along a cup of coffee and a dictionary -- with Gould's intense writing style you're likely to need both!

Wonderful Life

The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

This edition was published in by W. W. Norton


First Sentence

"Not since the Lord himself showed his stuff to Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones had anyone brought such grace and skill to the reconstruction of animals from disarticulated skeletons."

Classifications

Library of Congress
QE711.2

ID Numbers

Open Library
OL7452856M
ISBN 10
039330700X
ISBN 13
9780393307009
Library Thing
9947
Goodreads
36475

Lists containing this Book

History

Download catalog record: RDF / JSON / OPDS | Wikipedia citation
October 12, 2020 Edited by ImportBot import existing book
August 13, 2020 Edited by ImportBot import existing book
August 5, 2010 Edited by IdentifierBot added LibraryThing ID
April 24, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Fixed duplicate goodreads IDs.
April 29, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Imported from amazon.com record.