Human Age paperback
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New York Times Bestseller                                    

P.E.N. Henry David Thoreau Award

New York Times Notable Books of 2014        

Booklist Best Books 2014

Hudson Booksellers Best Books of 2014       

Brainpickings Best Science Books of 2014

Straight's Best Books of 2014                              

Kirkus Best Books of 2014

Business Standard Best Nonfiction 2014      

NationSwell Most Inspiring Books of 2014

“Our relationship with nature has changed radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable.”  Diane Ackerman, The Human Age

Our finest literary interpreter of science and nature, Diane Ackerman is justly celebrated for her unique insight into the natural world and our place (for better and worse) in it.


In this landmark book, she confronts the unprecedented fact that the human race is now the single dominant force of change on the planet. Humans have “subdued 75 percent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness.” We now collect the DNA of vanishing species in a “frozen ark,” equip orangutans with iPads, create wearable technologies and synthetic species that might one day outsmart us. Ackerman takes us on an exciting journey to understand this bewildering new reality, introducing us to many of the people and ideas now creating —perhaps saving — our future.

The Human Age is a beguiling, optimistic engagement with the earth-shaking changes now affecting every part of our lives and those of our fellow creatures — a wise book that will astound, delight, and inform intelligent life for a long time to come.


"Diane Ackerman's vivid writing, inexhaustible stock of insights, and unquenchable optimism have established her as a national treasure, and as one of our 

great authors. If you've read any of her previous books, you already know why you'll love this latest one.If you haven't read her previous books, you're now about to become addicted to Diane Ackerman." — Jared Diamond

"A shimmering narrative about how the human and natural worlds coexist, coadapt, and interactively thrive. Through compelling and meditative prose, Ackerman delivers top-notch insights on the contemporary human condition."  --Kirkus


"Ackerman has established herself over the last quarter of a century as one of our most adventurous, charismatic, and engrossing public science writers. She has demonstrated a rare versatility, a contagious curiosity, and a gift for painting quick, memorable tableaus drawn from research across a panoply of disciplines. The Human Age displays all of these alluring qualities…The Human Age is a dazzling achievement: immensely readable, lively, polymathic, audacious."

-- New York Times Book Review

 "A precisely illuminating, witty, and resplendently expressive guide to the framework for a more positively human and humane future."--Booklist

"The greatest strength of her work is the beauty of her language, the power of her metaphors, and the utterly compelling nature of her examples...her penetrating insight is a joy to behold."--Publisher's Weekly 

"The Human Age allows us to consider whether or not we will accept destruction or restoration as our legacy. I cannot imagine a richer text of image and insight, rendered with grace, intelligence and stamina. Amazing.”--Terry Tempest Williams


 “With this stirringly vivid, darkbright manifesto, Diane Ackerman summons us to the wager of sheer possibility: life against death, delight still trouncing despair.”

—Lawrence Weschler


"In this amazingly illuminating book, Diane Ackerman explains our future with her typically intoxicating blend of scholarship, wisdom, grace and humor."

-- Siddhartha Mukherjee


“Diane Ackerman writes with brilliance, zest, and high style. We need to hear this voice of human affirmation. It's important. It matters. I read The Human Age and thought, Yes! This is the way to look ahead." -- Jonathan Weiner


"Part immersion memoir and part journalism, The Human Age is also many parts poetry. Optimism is her book's overriding ambience.There is something for everyone here. News from afar and news from up close. Prophesies of possibility. Hope and wonder — for aren't we all desperate for both?"--Chicago Tribune 

"Fascinating… Ackerman offers a cross-cultural tour of human ingenuity. Her words invite us to feel the hope she feels."--Washington Post

"Science storyteller Diane Ackerman (who was also Carl Sagan’s favorite poet) on the human condition– such a gorgeous read."--Brain Pickings


© 2022 Diane Ackerman