Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People” as Want to Read:
The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  478 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Humans first settled the islands of Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and New Guinea some sixty millennia ago, and as they had elsewhere across the globe, immediately began altering the environment by hunting and trapping animals and gathering fruits and vegetables. In this illustrated iconoclastic ecological history, acclaimed scientist and historian Tim Flannery fol ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published October 16th 2002 by Grove Press (first published 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Future Eaters, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Future Eaters

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 11, 2009 Sebastian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phenomenal book. Hands down the best Anthropology book I've ever read. It has opened by understanding much further than before on a wide array of concepts such as: sustainability, evolution, war, famine, species diversity etc.

It covers 50,000 years + of evolution; primarily in the south-pacific, but he does go into European evolution and Asian evolution of humans because of their influence on the region.

From megafauna to mountain formations, retracting ice ages, case-by-case analysis of patterns
Oct 15, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book about the natural history of Australia and its neighbors; New Zealand, New Caledonia, and New Guinea. The book is never boring, and is quite accessible to the layman. Tim Flannery describes why the ecology of Australia is so fragile; much of the land is not fertile, compounded by a dry climate. When the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) ensues at irregular intervals, the climate worsens yet further. In between these episodes, wet periods cause the flora to flourish, en ...more
Richard Reese
Mar 25, 2015 Richard Reese rated it it was amazing
After spending more than 20 years reading hundreds of books describing various aspects of the Earth Crisis, The Future Eaters by Tim Flannery stands out. It provides a sliver of hope for the future that is not built on magical thinking. Flannery is a lad who is madly in love with the Australian region, and he dreams that it will eventually heal, far down the road someday.

Here’s the story. Hominids evolved in Africa, and later migrated into Eurasia, where they lived in some regions for a million
Dec 09, 2009 Guy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, ecology
A remarkable and fascinating book. I thought that Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" had created the gold standard for ecological history, but Flannery gives him a run for his money and, in some respects, surpasses him. While Diamond's scope and goals are more grandiose (to explain from first principles why Europeans ended up ruling the world, if only for a while), Flannery's analysis of the ecological history of Australasia is more detailed and left me with a much better understanding of ...more
Tom Hodgson
Apr 03, 2016 Tom Hodgson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: insert-wisdom
My biggest regret regarding this book is that it is just one book, rather than part of a massive genre of writings on Australian geographic & biological history and their interrelations and impacts on humanity.
Need more.
Adam Cherson
Dec 31, 2013 Adam Cherson rated it really liked it
I rate this book a 4.25 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being best. This is one of the best environmental histories I’ve ever come across. It is simply a mind blowing description of what has happened to the fauna of Australia and environs from the beginning until today. Chock full of interesting hypotheses and speculations:

Dr Jonathon Kingdon...has recently developed a hypothesis about the nature of the ancestors of Australians that seems to fit the few well known facts well. He suggests that when m
Nov 12, 2011 Janice rated it it was amazing
I have just begun to read this book which I've had on my to read shelf for several years. I've always held this one up there as a kind of dessert or reward for reading because I just knew it would be good and so far I am not disappointed.

Two Weeks Later: I've just finished reading 'The Future Eaters'. What an amazing book. I had to put it aside a few times to absorb this complex and comprehensive history (several hundred thousand years of it) of Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, New Caledonia,
May 18, 2012 Zana rated it really liked it
Wow, this is an incredible book. It's very much in the vein of Jared Diamond, but Australia-specific. I can't recommend it highly enough.

My dad assigned it to his class seven years ago when he took them (and me) on a tour of Aboriginal Australia. I read the other two books but didn't get to the this one. I'm glad I suggested reading it for book club, which forced me to sit down and finally read it.

60,000 years ago man arrived in Australia and wiped out the megafauna. Then they had to deal with t
Dec 10, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Nonfiction. Flannery is clearly a kindred spirit of Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs and Steel). While Diamond tends to go global, Flannery, a paleontologist, recounts Australia's unique evolution, the many varieties of marsupials, and the aborigines, whom he identifies as the first future eaters. Their culture, with its origins some 40,000 years ago, first destroyed much of their future sustenance--the flora and fauna they found--then managed to create a new balance in the drastically changed landsca ...more
Brent Maxwell
Oct 25, 2014 Brent Maxwell rated it liked it
An important book and an enjoyable read, although thoroughly depressing. The Future Eaters walls through the history of Australasia sharing with how the continents shifted info their current arrangement, and ending with a thorough investigation into how modern Australian culture has been shaped.

Laden with scientific references, the book dives deep, and although this can be a touch tedious at times, it's clearly enough written and well structured so that is easy to skim as necessary.

To any sociol
Jun 28, 2007 Ben rated it really liked it
Though Flannery's general thesis is pretty apparent by the end of the first chapter, this book is worth reading for its intriguing line of argumentation and the wealth of research that was obviously put into it. At times, it becomes arduous to wade through the volume of information provided, but it is worth the effort. At the end of the day, Tim Flannery has managed to convince me that humanity is generally pretty stupid and Australia is kind of a dump. Now if that isn't insightful, I don't know ...more
R. Hill
Jul 14, 2015 R. Hill rated it it was amazing
Flannery is absolutely one of my favorite authors. He is a top tier scientist that has a real ability to bring together the natural history of a subject like no other. In this does book he does not disappoint. Here he shows how Australians have been altering their continent for over 60 millennia and continue to do so. As have humans on all seven continents. A sad tale that we can learn from if we start listening before it is too late.
Fascinating take on Australia. First People kill big Game - many species become extinct. The New People kill first People - Aboriginal culture becomes extinct, most of the species is threatend or extinct.
I remember what Green's leader Bob Brown said about technologically advanced civilization - they also go extinct. This is one reason why we do not hear from alien creatures. They collapsed before sending out UFO-s.
Peter Macinnis
Mar 29, 2008 Peter Macinnis rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every grandparent who worries about the future
I worked with Tim at the Australian Museum, and when I read this, I kept slapping myself on the forehead, saying "I knew that". It was only later that I realised we had been sitting on the same exhibition design committee, and I had been quietly absorbing his ideas.

If he had not written this, I might have done, which would have been scurvy on two counts -- first, he would have been ripped off, and second, the public would have been ripped off, because Tim is a better writer.
Feb 07, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it
What an interesting book! Tim Flannery takes us back to the first human settlements on the Australian continent, and compares the extinction of the megafauna with the New Zealand experience. A huge wealth of fascinating information about the ecosystems in these beautiful and unique countries. I loved this book!
Mar 03, 2009 V rated it really liked it
I learned that the British learned trench warfare from the Maori. And a bunch of things about the Ecology of this region too. The best thing about the book was the limited time it spent talking about people (very much just the second half) and the extended treatment it gave of all the islands in Australasia.
John Jordan
Jul 26, 2008 John Jordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent journey through the history of the spread of human civilization and its impact on the environment, flora and fauna. How the envoronment also shaped the migration patterns, particularly of Australasia.
Mar 23, 2014 Kate rated it liked it
Ahh, Flannery, back when he allowed himself to be Flannery and not Mr Climate Change. This is a well researched and argued book on how human habitation has changed Australia, and how we might be able to change it a little better for the future.
Justin White
Jun 06, 2013 Justin White rated it really liked it
Fascinating and in-depth look at the tectonic history of Australasia and how the landscape shaped life, and how humans have co-evolved with the landscape. Important fodder for the 'big Australia' debate with implications for feeding populations as we approach peak humanity.
May 25, 2009 Kelsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
wow. intense. important. spanning from the early evolutionary history of 'australasia' to the impact and lifestyle of the aborigines to the effects of european settlement on aborigines and the australian landscape... i think my brain doubled in size while reading this book!
Bill Porter
Well, not actually finished. Exhausted might be a better word. Very worthy, highly relevant to the current time and I hope to have the energy to continue reading it one day.
Isaac Bishara
His chapter on New Zealand ecological history lacked quality of evidential substance - shame as the rest of his focus on his own country was excellent... Overall great story telling
Brook Clinton
Feb 16, 2015 Brook Clinton rated it really liked it
well written and very informative. A little preachy, but perhaps rightly so. Certainly encourages me to learn more.
Frank Ashe
We are the future eaters, and have been since we took the coastal highway out of Africa 100,000 years ago. Now we've no future to move into unless we make it ourselves.
Sep 04, 2015 Alice rated it liked it
I think I really would have enjoyed an abridged version of this book. It was just a little too detailed in the archaeology/biology department for me to really love it.
Feb 20, 2012 Merryn rated it it was amazing
Fantastic - well researched and written. The tale about the story of the St Stevens Is wren and the lighthouse keepers cat stays with me always.
Oct 24, 2007 Barry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: non-fiction
Fascinating, humbling, and sobering ecological history of Australasia (i.e. Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea).
Jenny rated it liked it
Jul 13, 2010
nika rated it it was amazing
Nov 21, 2014
Terri Schulz
Terri Schulz rated it it was amazing
Jan 01, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Secret Country: The Hidden Australia
  • Van Diemen's Land
  • Leviathan: The Unauthorised Biography of Sydney
  • The Tyranny Of Distance: How Distance Shaped Australia's History
  • Mr. Darwin's Shooter
  • Why Weren't We Told?
  • The Malay Archipelago
  • Mosquito: A Natural History of Our Most Persistent and Deadly Foe
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith
  • In The Blink Of An Eye: How Vision Sparked The Big Bang Of Evolution
  • Opium: A History
  • Dancing with Strangers: Europeans and Australians at First Contact
  • Prehistory: The Making Of The Human Mind
  • Power Without Glory
  • Tall Man: The Death of Doomadgee
  • Joan Makes History
  • The Faber Book of Science: Scientists and Writers Illuminate Natural Phenomena from Fossils To...
  • Darwin's Armada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution
Tim Flannery is one of Australia's leading thinkers and writers.

An internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, he has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers and many books. His books include the landmark works The Future Eaters and The Weather Makers, which has been translated into more than 20 languages and in 2006 won the NSW Premiers Literary Prizes for B
More about Tim Flannery...

Share This Book