With some 70 percent of its surface covered by water, the Earth presents a picture of a gemlike blue planet when viewed from outer space. This sapphire jewel — the only planet in our solar system to sustain intelligent life — is the subject of this remarkably engaging and concise book by biologist, teacher, and popular science writer Url Lanham. Focusing on the Earth and the life forms that have evolved on it, Mr. Lanham's captivating study covers a wide range of subjects — from the work of Galileo, Copernicus, Herschel, and other scientists who contributed to our knowledge of Earth's position in the universe, to the Earth's internal physiology, intricacies of the biosphere, creation of continents, origins of plant and animal life, the diversity of physical habitats in which these life forms thrive, and much more. Well written and highly readable, this absorbing and optimistic natural history of the planet will take readers on a fantastic journey through time, offering up a host of facts and provocative insights. Easily accessible to advanced high school science students and college undergraduates, Earth, the Sapphire Planet will be warmly received as well by teachers and ecologically aware general readers.