BOOK REVIEW World of Geology by Tony Waltham


World of Geology: Travels to Rocky Places by Tony Waltham

This review should have been written in the early autumn of 2019 in the run up to dark winter evenings and the thought of stocking fillers.  The author and I spent a long leisurely afternoon drinking tea and discussing the book and its genesis – a treat and a privilege.  Instead it is written in early spring during a time of enforced lockdown as the country stays at home to reduce community spread of COVID19 infections.

This is a book to savour or to dip in and out of, to refer to when recalling trips of the past or even seeking inspiration for ones to come.

At first glance, it looks like a collection of Tony’s ‘holiday snaps’, and in a way they are, complete with a familial figure for scale.  Many of the 110 photographs have graced the back cover of Geology Today.  The book can be enjoyed for them alone.  My personal favourite is entitled “How close can you get to a lava flow?”  About two metres – perhaps this is some kind of universal constant for separation distances – seems to be the answer if it is a pahoehoe flow from Pu’u O’o as it covers a Hawaiian beach.

However the reader who pays as much attention to the text accompanying each photograph will be richly rewarded.  Not only do the words highlight aspects of the photographs that may have been missed; they provide context, background and history.  In other words, the text brings the photos to life.

Whether in splendid isolation or on a dark winter’s night, a mug of tea or hot cocoa (or even something seasonally stronger as the fancy takes), this book will take the reader to far away places. Enjoy!


Paul Nathanail
Bramcote, Nottingham


World of Geology: Travels to Rocky Places is available from Whittles Publishing:


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