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July 10, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

TALES OF THE EARTH: Paroxysms and Perturbations of the Blue Planet by Charles Officer & Jake Page (Oxford University Press: $10.95; 226 pp., illustrated). Officer and Page examine the destruction caused by volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods--and humans. The clouds of dust, gas and ash produced by the eruption of Tambora in Indonesia turned 1816 into "The Year Without A Summer" in Europe and North America. However, mankind has done even greater damage to the Earth, exterminating species, burning forests and ruining land, often irrevocably. The authors conclude their thoughtful attempt to place ecological concerns in an understandable context by restating the need " . . . to learn to live in harmony with the planet and its resources, not simply to plunder and overrun it."

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