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Life on Earth

Written by: David Attenborough
Narrated by: David Attenborough
Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Audible Editor Reviews

Now, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the book’s first publication, David Attenborough has revisited Life on Earth, completely updating and adding to the original text, taking account of modern scientific discoveries from around the globe. This special anniversary edition provides a fitting tribute to an enduring wildlife classic, destined to enthral the generation who saw it when first published and bring it alive for a whole new generation. 

Publisher's Summary

Winner of Best Non-Fiction Audiobook at the New York Radio Awards 2019.   

Shortlisted for Best Audiobook at the Specsavers National Book Awards 2018.   

Shortlisted for Futurebook of the Year at the Futurebook Awards 2018.  

The nation’s greatest voice, David Attenborough, reads a brand-new edition of Life on Earth, now available as an audiobook for the first time.

David Attenborough’s unforgettable meeting with gorillas became an iconic moment for millions of television viewers. Life on Earth, the series and accompanying book, fundamentally changed the way we view and interact with the natural world, setting a new benchmark of quality, influencing a generation of nature lovers. Told through an examination of animal and plant life, this is an astonishing celebration of the evolution of life on earth, with a cast of characters drawn from the whole range of organisms that have ever lived on this planet. Attenborough’s perceptive, dynamic approach to the evolution of millions of species of living organisms takes the reader on an unforgettable journey of discovery from the very first spark of life to the blue and green wonder we know today.

Now, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the book’s first publication, David Attenborough has revisited Life on Earth, completely updating and adding to the original text, taking account of modern scientific discoveries from around the globe. This special anniversary edition provides a fitting tribute to an enduring wildlife classic, destined to enthral the generation who saw it when first published and bring it alive for a whole new generation.

This audiobook includes wildlife sounds from BAFTA Award winning sound recordist, Chris Watson, who has worked extensively with David Attenborough on his BBC projects. A soundscape appears at the beginning of each chapter to provide a fully immersive experience of the habitat and some of the species described. A full list of the tracks, as they appear in the audiobook, is available below.

  • Prologue - Acacia scrubland dawn chorus in the Masai Mara, Kenya, featuring White-browed Robin-chat. 
  • Chapter One, The Infinite Variety - Tropical rain forest in Panama with the calls of Montezuma oropendola.
  • Chapter Two, Building Bodies - Fish and crustaceans recorded underwater on a coral reef off Seligan island, Borneo.
  • Chapter Three, The First Forests - Geysir and geothermal activity at Haukadalur hot springs in Iceland. This track also features the Strokkur geysir erupting. 
  • Chapter Four, The Swarming Hordes - Evening insect chorus in the Conkouati forest reserve, Republic of Congo.
  • Chapter Five, The Conquest of The Waters - Ocean currents through sea kelp recorded at a depth of 8m, Moray Firth, Scotland.
  • Chapter Six, Invasion of The Land - Reed frog chorus at sunset, Amboseli National Park, Kenya.
  • Chapter Seven, A Watertight Skin - Seawash around basking marine iguanas, Isla San Cristóbal, Galapagos.
  • Chapter Eight, Lords of The Air - Springtime dawn chorus with nightingale, Hambleton wood, Rutland Water nature reserve, UK.
  • Chapter Nine, Eggs, Pouches and Placentas - forest chorus along riverside platypus territory, Queensland, Australia.
  • Chapter Ten, Theme and Variation - Common Pipistrelle bats echolocating after sunset, Holystone woodland, Northumberland.
  • Chapter Eleven, The Hunters and The Hunted - Spotted hyena contact calls at midnight in the Masai Mara, Kenya.
  • Chapter Twelve, A Life in The Trees - Black howler monkeys calling across the tree canopy at sunrise in Belize.
  • Chapter Thirteen, The Compulsive Communicators - Street market, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, Northern India.
  • Epilogue - Beach habitat in mangroves with Great frigatebirds and red footed boobies, Isla Genovesa, Galapagos.
©2018 David Attenborough (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Dave
  • 2018-09-25

100% Pure Attenborough

I enjoy a good, long Attenborogh read. Sedatingly relaxing, and yet, stimulating. The subtle, witty humor is priceless. Sadly, intelligent, entertaining, and informative intellectuals such as Attenborogh, Sagan, Chrichton, and C. Clark are almost exctinct. I play your Audiobooks to my daughter, Mr. Attenborough, so she may gain the wonderful gift of incite into the natural world you gave to me.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Phillip F. Reid
  • 2019-03-14

David Attenborough tells the story of life

as only he can. Treasure. Worth listening to all the way through even if you're familiar with the BBC series.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kaksi Maksi
  • 2019-02-21

Excellent look at the history of life

This is a very well written book from David Attenborough, detailing the history of life on Earth, from the very beginning. He takes us through all of the developments of life, like adapting to living on land, in an easy to understand manner, always giving evolutionary explanations as to why things happened the way they did.

His performance is perfect as usual, he speaks clearly, understandably.

Five star book, recommended to everyone.

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  • Writing
  • 2018-12-26

Worth listening to several times

I had no idea when I downloaded this easy to miss book that it would bring as much pleasure and knowledge into my life. It is a book that tells what is arguable the most important story on the planet earth: how does life happen. Or perhaps more egocentrically: How did humans happen. I'm not sure if Attenborough set out to tell the story of how humans happen but he starts with the primordial soup on earth 4 billion years ago and moves through invertebrates, vertebrates, reptiles, birds, mammals, and then starts zeroing in on primates and ends with us. It's a lovely story and one that we think we know but there is plenty in this book that will remind you of things you thought you once knew and plenty that you've never heard before. Example: there is this frog that gets eggs implanted in scratches under the skin of its back where the eggs mature and then burst forth when they are ready. Forgive my imprecision -- I'm often listening late at night -- and it's soothing -- I listen to it over and over. Attenborough's voice is mesmerizing and the story he tells is of immense importance -- we are the only species on this planet that has altered the planet to the degree that we have. He stop short of writing a global warming polemic -- but I hope we will one day. I'll listen to that too!

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  • Grace K
  • 2018-12-05

Life itself

Sir David has a voice that is both enthralling and soothing. The content is fascinating as well

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  • TJ Granack
  • 2020-02-16

Nothing but Love for Mr Attenborough

My favorite "go to" David Attenborough audiobook. Every chapter is a gem, and each start with the sounds of nature. Well written and presented in that wonderful voice.
TJ Granack

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  • James S Varner
  • 2018-11-07

amazing as always

well written, well read. always a pleasure to experience the writing of Sir David Attenborough.

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  • B.
  • 2020-05-11

Breathtakingly vivid, informative and thoughtful

I think I admire David Attenborough most because he followed his dreams and it led him to become one of the greatest educators of our time. He has explored, seen, experienced and shared so much.

And somehow this book is a culmination of much of that, written and read as a celebration of life. And, in a time when he was still hopeful that humanity might step up and be the stewards of the Earth that we can be.

It’s a joy to listen to and highly recommended.

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  • Stephan
  • 2020-01-16

Exquisite

As David Attenborough says, this is indeed the greatest story ever told. A beautifully narrated tale of the evolution of all animals told chronologically from the beginning of time up to today, covering all living thing, why they are the way they are and why they do what they do. As with all of his books and shows you are guaranteed to learn something new through his interesting tales of weird and wonderful creatures and their quirky behaviours.

David’s narration takes this book to a whole new level and could not have been more perfect.

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  • Moya Smith
  • 2019-12-01

Classic

Absolutely brilliant sir David Attenborough. Incomparable. Such a beautiful way of educating any type of reader with his trademark use of language.