Title A Most Improbable Journey
Subtitle A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves
Author Walter Alvarez
ISBN 9780393355192
List price USD 15.95
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 256
Book size 140 x 210 mm
Publishing year 2017
Original publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“A thrilling synthesis from a brilliant scientist who discovered one of the most important chapters in our history.”

—Sean B. Carroll


“[Alvarez] revels in the unlikely reality of life on Earth…enabling readers to experience the power of Big History.”

— Science


“Fans of Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything will appreciate Alvarez’s enthusiastic, clearly written tour of contingencies that have shaped our world , starting with the origins of life on Earth.”

— Science News


“For the past three decades, Walter Alvarez has been at the center of a revolution in how scientists think about the history of life and the Earth. In A Most Improbable Journey he gives us the biggest history of all, going from the Big Bang to our own place on the planet. Lively and profound and flavored with his infectious enthusiasm, Alvarez shows how each of us has won a truly massive lottery just to be a sentient being on this planet.”

— Neil Shubin, best-selling author of Your Inner Fish


“A wonderful account of Big History by a geologist. And not just any geologist, but the geologist who showed that the dinosaurs were done in by an unlucky asteroid strike! Alvarez writes with precision and great charm. And he reminds us how absurdly improbable is the role we play in this colossal story, and how many things had to go right for you and me to exist.”

— David Christian, founder of the field of Big History and author of Maps of Time



— Nature


Big History, the field that integrates traditional historical scholarship with scientific insights to study the full sweep of our universe, has so far been the domain of historians. Famed geologist Walter Alvarez—best known for the “Impact Theory” explaining dinosaur extinction—has instead championed a science-first approach to Big History. Here he wields his unique expertise to give us a new appreciation for the incredible occurrences—from the Big Bang to the formation of supercontinents, the dawn of the Bronze Age, and beyond—that have led to our improbable place in the universe.




Chapter 1. Big History, the Earth, and the Human Situations


Chapter 2. From the Big Bang to Planet earth


Chapter 3. Gifts from the Earth

Chapter 4. A Planet with Continents and Oceans

Chapter 5. A Tale of Two Mountain Ranges

Chapter 6. Remembering Ancient Rivers


Chapter 7. Your Personal Record of Life History


Chapter 8. The Great Journey

Chapter 9. Being Human



Chapter 10. What Was the Chance of All This Happening?


Appendix 1: Further Resources

Appendix 2: Figure Sources




About the Author:

Walter Alvarez, professor of geology at the University of California, Berkeley, received the Penrose Medal, the top honor in geology, and is the best-selling author of T. Rex and the Crater of Doom. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Target Audience:

Students and academicians of Geology, Science, Astronomy & World History.


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