Awards: Royal Society Science Book Winner

A (Very) Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Chapters by Henry Gee (published here by St. Martin's Press) won the £25,000 (about $30,740) Royal Society Science Book Prize, which recognizes works that "exemplify the extraordinary variety of topics and narrative style within the genre, and the role that great writing plays in bringing outstanding research and ideas to a wider audience."

Chair of judges Maria Fitzgerald said: "This is history like you have never read before. Henry Gee takes us on a whirlwind journey through 4.6 billion years through the birth of the planet Earth, the emergence of life and the evolution of man, a species that is not only aware of itself but also of what will happen next. As Gee races through millennia, momentous physical and biological changes are described with immense skill and dynamism combined with almost poetic imagery. The last chapter, 'The Past of the Future,' reminds us of our relative insignificance and that each species facing extinction does so in its own way. But 'do not despair,' he urges us: 'The Earth abides, and life is living yet.' "

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