Our Review

This book for us was not as appealing because we prefer fiction books, whereas this book was non-fiction. We still believe this book helped us gain a lot of knowledge about environmental issues. Mark Hertsgaard wrote about his first-hand experiences and he interviews many people throughout the book. He explores many different concerns including global warming, hunger, and population growth. Using his own knowledge and what he learns from people he interviews and meets throughout the book, Hertsgaard is able to offer valuable ideas when it comes to what we can do for our environment. This book can be a little repetitive at times as Hertsgaard is trying to make sure to get his main idea across to the reader. Hertsgaard is successfully able to raise awareness and educate us about the world's  major environmental issues. For us this book was an 8/10, because while we did get just a little bored reading it we still found it to be very informative and learned a lot while also realising that we need to question ourselves about how selfishly we affect the environment.

Keith Schneider: “By taking care to explain the technical, by including just enough of himself and by giving full breath to select characters, he has transformed a daunting subject into a stirring contribution to the growing literature on the global environment. His tone is generally that of an interested and accomplished reporter seeking to understand communities and assemble a foundation of facts from which to draw conclusions.”


Journalist Hertsgaard began his seven-year odyssey in 1991. While he poses a question (implicit in his subtitle) that many before him have tackled, he makes a worthwhile contribution to the debate. Major chapters explore the extreme complexity and global connection of basic issues, including hunger, the role of the automobile, population growth, and the enormous issue of global warming. Hertsgaard also explores capitalism and free-market economies as contributors to, and possible solutions for, some of the world's environmental problems. Not just another doomsayer (though his message is intense), Hertsgaard offers both explanation and personal narrative, leaving the reader informed, involved, and thinking. Recommended for all environmental collections and suggested for all public libraries.‘Nancy J. Moeckel, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Earth Odyssey is a really educational book. The words, experiences and perspective Mark Hertsgaard writes from are exceptional. Before reading this book I always wondered what the air in China would be like because it is so much more developed than Pakistan, yet there is an ample amount of poverty as well. Mark Hertsgaard travels the world to answer mysterious questions like this. While reading ‘Earth Odyssey’, I always looked forward to Mark’s new destination or where he would decide he wanted to go next. That constant suspense would give the book a 10/10 for me. It is a must read for people who want to benefit or know more about the environment. People who enjoy tourism and the scene for different countries would love to get more knowledge through Mark’s experiences. As stated, in a review by John Skow, “Earth Odyssey was one of the best environmental book in year.” It is no surprise to have heard this quote, Mark has truely observed and concluded his experiences and turned them into a amazing environmental book. Earth Odyssey talks about a number of topics of Mark’s reflections. The three main views which anyone would look forward to about this book would be:

  • The Human Habit of the Automobile

  • The Importance of Population

  • The Answer to the question: “Are humans going to extinct themselves?”

These three topics/chapters are the most interesting topics Mark brings up. First of all, he takes a magnificent human invention and compares it to a habit and a catastrophe. He then brings upon the importance of population. In this brief topic he mentions overpopulated countries, and explains poverty. This chapter opened my eyes because of the reality in his words. The main theme of the book, ‘Earth Odyssey’ by Mark Hertsgaard, is the environment, and how the environment is affected by different elements, some of which include poverty, which the narrator goes in detail with his experiences in, the narrator goes to different regions (specifically 19 countries), and experiences different expeditions, he has a translator by his side, named Zhenbing Zhou, who experienced poverty growing up, which in turn caused him to value the earth a lot. “Earth Odyssey is a vivid, passionate narrative about one man's journey around the world in search of the answer to the essential question of our time: Is the future of the human species at risk?” (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1390.Earth_Odyssey) I would rate this a 7/10, because the narrator goes into too much detail regarding the locations, and the geography. The book is slightly biased, due to the fact that this was written in first person point of view, however, it would’ve been more efficient if it was in third person point of view, and at last the book was scattered in terms of organization, as the occurrences occured at a random pace. Finally all of his experiences and thoughts add up to answer the final question of “are humans going to extinct themselves?” Will his experiences and words make the audience answer the question themselves or will he give a straightforward answer? To find out you need to read this masterpiece by Mark Hertsgaard.