The Greywacke (Hardback)

How a Priest, a Soldier and a Schoolteacher Uncovered 300 Million Years of History

Nick Davidson

The story of three 19th-century geologists whose fraternal rivalry ended up rewriting the history of our planet

Adam Sedgwick was a priest and scholar. Roderick Murchison was a retired soldier. Charles Lapworth was a schoolteacher. It was their personal and intellectual rivalry, pursued on treks through Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Devon and parts of western Russia, that revealed the narrative structure of the Paleozoic Era, the 300-million-year period during which life on Earth became recognisably itself.

Nick Davidson follows in their footsteps and draws on maps, diaries, letters, field notes and contemporary accounts to bring the ideas and characters alive. But this is more than a history of geology. As we travel through some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain, it's a celebration of the sheer visceral pleasure generations of geologists have found, and continue to find, in noticing the earth beneath our feet.

Publication date: 13/05/2021

£20.00

ISBN: 9781788163774

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics, Science & Mathematics

The Greywacke (Ebook)

How a Priest, a Soldier and a Schoolteacher Uncovered 300 Million Years of History

Nick Davidson

The story of three 19th-century geologists whose fraternal rivalry ended up rewriting the history of our planet

Adam Sedgwick was a priest and scholar. Roderick Murchison was a retired soldier. Charles Lapworth was a schoolteacher. It was their personal and intellectual rivalry, pursued on treks through Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Devon and parts of western Russia, that revealed the narrative structure of the Paleozoic Era, the 300-million-year period during which life on Earth became recognisably itself.

Nick Davidson follows in their footsteps and draws on maps, diaries, letters, field notes and contemporary accounts to bring the ideas and characters alive. But this is more than a history of geology. As we travel through some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain, it's a celebration of the sheer visceral pleasure generations of geologists have found, and continue to find, in noticing the earth beneath our feet.

Publication date: 13/05/2021

£18.99

ISBN: 9781782836261

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B08HR4XZV4

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics, Science & Mathematics

Reviews for The Greywacke

'A colourful and joyous romp through the not-so-sedate world of mid-nineteenth-century geology ... Davidson reveals the barely credible amount of hard work that was expended in unearthing the mysteries of the rocks, and reminds us that just because everyone agrees with you, it does not mean that you are right'

John Wright, author The Forager's Calendar

'Engaging and persuasive ... Everyone interested in geology should know about Murchison, Sedgwick and Lapworth'

Richard Fortey, author The Earth: An Intimate History

'This is history with its boots on. Deciphering the early records of life on earth demanded imagination, ambition, cooperation and controversy - and years of patient detective work in some of Britain's wildest landscapes ... Packed with vivid stories, The Greywacke brings to life an unlikely cast of characters who changed the way we view the world'

James A. Secord, author Visions of Science

'Whether trudging down Welsh ravines, scrambling in the Lake District, covering vast distances across rural Russia or hard going amid the crags of north-west Scotland, the writing puts us there, in the field, on the ground ... A great story well told'

Andrew Greig, author At the Loch of the Green Corrie

Nick Davidson

Nick Davidson

Nick Davidson is a documentary filmmaker and amateur geologist. He lives in London.