Historical Reprints History IMMENSE JOURNEY, THE


Catalog # SKU1616
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Loren Eiseley



Loren Eiseley

The fences of the imagination are buckling under the pressure brought against them by the facts and theories of modern science, but few scientists have the writer's imagination that is needed to describe the deepest meaning of their seeming miracles. Loren Corey Eiseley labors under no such limitation. As a distinguished anthropologist he has a full measure of academic rewards for genuine accomplishment. Yet many of his peers have accomplished as much and left the plain reader no wiser. What Eiseley has done in scores of articles and three books is to make the ideas and findings of his special fields not only radiantly comprehensible but almost spiritually meaningful to readers whose knowledge of science is slight.

The Immense Journey is a striking instance of his rare talent. Anthropology may be broadly defined as the study of man and his works, past and present.

The Immense Journey involves not only anthropology but also archeology, paleontology, biology, geology and chemistry. Obviously such an interrelationship is difficult to sustain for either the scientist or the writer. Yet the experts find Eiseley's guidance impeccably accurate, while the common reader receives from him a rare insight into the long and wondrous tale of the evolution of life.

Eiseley is a modest man who has responded with a thoughtful humility to the honors that have been showered upon his books. When The Immense Journey was published in 1957, it was praised as being "beautifully written" and "a delightful journey, full of beautiful images and fascinating ideas." One reviewer felt "like going out into the street and buttonholing passers-by into sharing his pleasure."

Eiseley's two other books earned him the same kind of considered applause. For Darwin's Century, a lucidly panoramic account of the development of the concept of evolution, he won the first Phi Beta Kappa Science Prize for 1959's best book on science. In 1961 The Firmament of Time earned for him the Pierre Lecomte du Nouy American Foundation Award for the best book tending to reconcile science and religion. It also brought him the coveted John Burroughs Medal, which goes to a popular book on natural science blending accuracy, originality and good writing.

CONTENTS. * Editor's Preface

* The Slit

* The Flow of the River

* The Great Deeps

* The Snout

* How Flowers Changed the World

* The Real Secret of Piltdown

* The Maze

* The Dream Animal

* Man of the Future

* Little Men and Flying Saucers

* The Judgment of the Birds

* The Bird and the Machine

* The Secret of Life


Some lands are flat and grass-covered, and smile so evenly up at the sun that they seem forever youthful, untouched by man or time. Some are torn, ravaged and convulsed like the features of profane old age. Rocks are wrenched up and exposed to view; black pits receive the sun but give back no light.

It was to such a land I rode, but I rode to it across a sunlit, timeless prairie over which nothing passed but antelope or a wandering bird. On the verge where that prairie halted before a great wall of naked sandstone and clay, I came upon the Slit. A narrow crack worn by some descending torrent had begun secretly, far back in the prairie grass, and worked itself deeper and deeper into the fine sandstone that led by devious channels into the broken waste beyond. I rode back along the crack to a spot where I could descend into it, dismounted and left my horse to graze.

The crack was only about body-width and, as I worked my way downward, the light turned dark and green from the overhanging grass. Above me the sky became a narrow slit of distant blue, and the sandstone was cool to my hands on either side. The Slit was a little sinister-like an open grave, assuming the dead were enabled to take one last look -- for over me the sky seemed already as far off as some future century I would never see.

I ignored the sky, then, and began to concentrate on the sandstone walls that had led me into this place. It was tight and tricky work, but that cut was a perfect cross section through perhaps ten million years of time. I hoped to find at least a bone, but I was not quite prepared for the sight I finally came upon. Staring straight out at me, as I slid farther and deeper into the green twilight, was a skull embedded in the solid sandstone.

I had come at just the proper moment when it was fully to be seen, the white bone gleaming there in a kind of ashen splendor, water worn, and about to be ground away in the next long torrent. It was not, of course, human. I was deep, deep below the time of man in a remote age near the beginning of the reign of mammals. I squatted on my heels in the narrow ravine, and we stared a little blankly at each other, the skull and I. There were marks of generalized primitiveness in that low, pinched brain case and grinning jaw that marked it as lying far back along those converging roads where, as I shall have occasion to establish elsewhere, cat and man and weasel must leap into a single shape.

It was the face of a creature who had spent his days following his nose, who was led by instinct rather than memory, and whose power of choice was very small.

Softcover, 5¼" x 8¼", 175+ pages

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