Is the End of the World Near?: From Crackpot Predictions to Scientific Scenarios
By: Ron Miller
Publisher: Twentieth Century Books (Young Adult)
Publication Date: October 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: January 17, 2012
The world is abuzz with countless scenarios and predictions as to how the world will end. No doubt that the world as we know it today will end “more than one million years from now.” However, it is 2012 and many feel the end of the world will be sooner rather than later. Some people lean toward religious explanations or theories while others toward scientific. Those who seriously study how “the world might end” are called eschatologists. Have you got nerves of steel? If not you might not want to peek inside the pages of this book because some of the scenarios may send you off shivering in search of cover. If you do, you’ll find an array of fascinating theories of the world’s predicted demise in these pages.
Most of the world’s modern religious have passed down their own doomsday or apocalyptic scenarios in their scripture. Naturally there have been many “false alarms,” and if you are reading this book in 2013, you will have experienced yet another one. Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all adhere to their eschatological visions. For example, the “Islamic end-of-the-world story says that someday Jesus will return to the Middle East to slay an Antichrist, or force of evil.” Forty years later, after Jesus dies, the world will end.
Perhaps you are a fan of the “Big Screen” and have seen the end-of-the-world many different times. The Day after Tomorrow was a real chiller when the ice age unexpectedly crept up upon us due to climate change. For the reader, there is also a large selection to choose from. There are many prophecies and scenarios nestled in the pages of this book, but one of high interest is the one predicted for December 21, 2012. Where did this theory come from? You’ll find out about this prophecy, but also about several others. You’ll also get a close look at pseudoscientific apocalyptic theories (Earth’s shifting crust, "The Jupiter Effect," pole shifts, etc.), the “Carrington Flare” (a gigantic solar flare), dangerous potential Earth grazers, super volcanoes, threats from outer space, human-made disaster scenarios, nuclear war, diseases, pandemics, the XDR-TB superbug, and many more disastrously fascinating facts about our possible demise!
This is an amazing book about many end-of-the-world predictions and theories that will stun the young reader. This book is very thorough, well researched, and so captivatingly written that I actually read it twice. Several theories are debunked by reaching back in time and finding the origin and explaining why people have become firm believers in them. In particular, why people have “jumped on board the 2012 bandwagon.” The material is presented clearly, but not in an alarmist manner (the facts are the facts). It presents both religious viewpoints and scientific without judgment, although creationists may want to pass on this book due to the brief evolutionary section. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a timeline, source notes, a selected bibliography, and additional recommended book, film, and website resources to explore.
Quill says: This is a fascinating book that not only the young reader will enjoy, but also the older. Is the end near and how will it come? You'll just have to read the book to decide which scenario you'll adhere to!