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Download The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology, by Simon Winchester Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,448 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Simon Winchester Narrator: Simon Winchester Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the author of the bestselling The Professor and the Madman comes the fascinating story of the father of modern geology

In 1793 William Smith, the orphan son of a village blacksmith, made a startling discovery that would turn the science of geology on its head. While surveying the route for a canal near Bath, he noticed that the fossils found in one layer of the rocks he was excavating were very different from those found in another. And out of that realization came an epiphany: that by following these fossils one could trace layers of rocks as they dipped, rose, and fell—clear across England and clear across the world.

Obsessed with creating a map that would showcase his discovery, Smith spent the next twenty years traveling England alone, studying rock outcroppings and gathering information. In 1815 he published a hand-painted map more than eight feet tall and six feet wide. But four years later, swindled out of his profits, Smith ended up in debtors’ prison. His wife went mad. He lived as a homeless man for ten long years.

Eventually a kindly aristocrat discovered him; Smith, the quiet genius and “father of geology,” was brought back to London and showered with the honors that he rightly deserved. Here now is his astounding story.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Winchester brings Smith's struggle to life in clear and beautiful language.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Winchester masterfully weaves a compelling history.”

    Newsday

  • “Smith’s unsung life provides the perfect backdrop for yet another entertaining intellectual history.”

    Denver Post

  • “Well-researched narrative.”

    Businessweek

  • “With descriptive contemporary visitations to places significant to the story and well-chosen historical detail, he makes immediate not only the magnitude and elegance of Smith's accomplishment, but also the thrill of each of the moments of genius necessary to reach his ultimate conclusion. Smith's life provides a terrific plot to frame his contribution to science. Winchester's wonderful account does credit to it.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • One of the 2001 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jennifer | 2/19/2014

    " Had bought this book for my scientifc husband to read and I picked it up, it was great. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Nancy | 2/18/2014

    " More book than story. Liked the 2 others better. I'll continue to read Simon's books because they are very interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Chris | 2/13/2014

    " Great! Fascinating! For me, a great read because it is a fascinating biography as well as a history of scientific beginnings. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mad_Maudie | 2/2/2014

    " Leave it to Winchester to take a seemingly boring subject and give it life. "

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