Tim Flannery with Luigi Boitani 2018. Europe. A natural history Melbourne: Text Publishing, 357 pp.

The other title on some editions is Europe. The First 100 Million Years which is slightly more accurate. Mostly about extinct big terrestrial vertebrates though; flora, marine life and invertebrates all get scant mention. Nothing wrong with an author writing about what he knows best, just needs a more accurate title. Luigi Boitani the almost-coauthor is a conservation biologist, especially wolves.

Tim Flannery does write with a pretty broad brush, so much so that one frequently wants to turn to the primary sources instead. These are documented in extensive endnotes (this increasingly common format unfortunately means that there isn’t a separate bibliography).

An interesting read, especially the exceptionally entertaining chapter 2 on palaeontologists Hungarian Count Franz Nopcsa (also a spy) and Beverley Halstead who, with his wife and after a pint of gin and tonic, demonstrated dinosaur copulatory positions in seminars.

The chapters on ice-age humans and their art are great. Denisovians get little mention - admittedly not much is known of them but this is not normally an obstacle for Tim.