Lovelock & Gaia


A short book in which I tell the story of James Lovelock, Gaia theory, and its reception and influence. It came out from Icon Books in 2003, and from Columbia University Press in the US the following year. Out of date now – in the sense that Gaia’s scientific offshoots in Earth system sciences have moved on – but still an effective summary of how things went in this fascinating scientific discussion until then, I think.

For my money, Lovelock is one of the two most interesting Englishmen of the second half of the twentieth century (the other is Francis Crick). He’s also much harder to pin down, and propounded a theory which, in its strongest versions, is wrong. But still hugely influential…


“Turney’s writing is beautifully clear and maintains an admirable objectivity… The result is never less than absorbing.” New Scientist

“a detailed account of a novel theory and its maverick originator, contributing to the annals of environmental thought and the history of ideas.” Booklist

“An excellent little book”. Brian Clegg, Popular Science website