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How the Earth Turned Green


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About the Author

Joseph E. Armstrong is an award-winning teacher, professor of botany, head curator of the Vasey Herbarium, and director of the Organismal Biology and Public Outreach Sequence for Biological Sciences Majors, all at Illinois State University.


"Practicing or apprenticing botanists, plant biologists, agronomists, and horticulturists need a detailed understanding of the evolution of plants for a correct perspective on the organisms they study and use, but the current general textbooks provide an inadequate watered-down history. In How the Earth Turned Green, through the knowledge, skill, and friendly writing of Armstrong and the wisdom of the University of Chicago Press, we finally have a book to fill this gap. Its eleven chapters--the final two about the flowering plants--tell the whole story, backed up by a detailed and illustrated appendix on fossil and living ancestors going back to the green algae and cyanobacteria. An essential book for plant students and professionals."--David Lee, Florida International University "author of "Nature's Palette: The Science of Plant Color""

"A salient summary of the important concepts that should guide even a college professor teaching introductory biology. . . . How the Earth Turned Green should be required reading for all pre-service biology teachers and on the bookshelf of all K-16 science instructors. . . . Armstrong presents us with a unique approach to the plant kingdom. His refreshing wit and straightforward commentary lead the reader through an evolutionary explanation of why a predominant color of earth is green. His goal is to foster deeper understanding of key concepts, and he raises, and answers, many obvious questions that are almost never asked. As a doctor of botany, I enthusiastically prescribe this book to treat the widespread symptoms of 'Plant Blindness.'"--Marshall D. Sundberg, Emporia State University "Reports of the National Center for Science Education"

"An impressive work that is clearly a labor of love. . . . Armstrong provides a big-picture overview of life on Earth through green-colored glasses, yielding a work that is accessible, scientifically rigorous, and philosophically piquant. Whether used as recreational reading or as a framework for an advanced undergrad or early graduate study course, How the Earth Turned Green is well worth reading for anyone attracted to the 'green background' through which we move."--Sean T. Hammond, Oregon State University "BioScience"

"Armstrong . . . aims his book squarely at plant-blind readers, who see plants as just a green background to life. . . . [He] deftly entertains his readers with a balanced discussion of plant life on Earth, from cyanobacteria and stromatolites to flowering plants. . . . How the Earth Turned Green will make many a reader aware of the importance of plants to the history of this planet."--J. Valauskas, Curator of Rare Books, Library, Chicago Botanic Garden "Current Books on Gardening and Botany"

"Spoiler alert! This book could seriously change your view of what a textbook can be(!). . . . Whilst How the Earth Turned Green is quite technical in places, that should be viewed neither as a negative nor a surprise. . . . But its very informal style (which was most unexpected in--although refreshingly different for--a scholarly text) makes for a highly readable, educational account."--Nigel Chaffey, Bath Spa University, UK "Annals of Botany Blog: News and Views on Plant Science and Ecology"

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