Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Friday, November 11, 2011

Is the End of the World Near? by Ron Miller

Is the End of the World Near? from crackpot predictions to scientific scenarios
by Ron Miller
Twenty-First Century Books, 2011
ISBN: 9780761373964
Reviewer obtained a copy from the public library.

I will admit that I am a huge fan of anything about ancient civilizations, the theory that alien astronauts populated our planet, and “end of the world” literature. I’ve read The Book of the Hopi by Frank Waters, Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Daniken and the Earth Chronicles by Zecharia Sitchin, to name a few. I can’t really explain why I find it fascinating, yet I love to sit outside on summer nights looking up at the stars and wonder what came before us. Will our civilization end as abruptly as, say the Anasazi, those who inhabited Chaco Canyon or the people who lived in the underground city of Derinkuyu in Turkey?  After reading this book, I don’t see our future being as bleak as painted in dystopian novels.

Ron Miller, is an author who specializes in writing books about Science, especially Space and Astronomy. His knowledge is evident here as he gives us a scientific explanation to some non-scientific predictions. This book covers many of the more well known theories of how the world will end.  Using a down-to-earth tone, the author never rising into hysteria. Miller takes each theory and after briefly introducing it, he then gives a thorough explanation of why it isn’t likely to happen. 

The end-of-the-world scenarios covered include: December 21, 2012, horrific weather, the sun will die, diseases, a nuclear disaster, or an asteroid will collide with earth. 

Colorful illustrations and photographs make the writing come alive, with many illustrations done by the author.

When talking about nuclear war, Miller points out, “ most fact-based world-ending disasters are thousands, millions, and even billions of years in the future. They will not impact our lives or those of our children, or their children. But it is important for us to think about things happening on Earth right now – things that directly affect the quality of life on this planet and things that we can do something about'" such as stopping wars and being active by doing all we can to end global warming.

The well-documented book includes: table of contents, epilogue, timeline of events that were thought of as end-of-the-world scenarios, glossary, source notes, selected bibliography, further reading, films, and websites, and an index.

This book is excellent and a good addition to libraries. Teens will find it fascinating and reassuring at the same time. 

5 Stars
(Grades 8 and up)

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