Meteorite Nature and Culture

Author(s): Maria Golia


Among the rarest things on earth, meteorites carry an air of mystery and drama while having left a pervasive, outsized mark on our planet and civilization. In Meteorite, Maria Golia tells the long history of our engagement with these sky-born space rocks. Arriving amid thunderous blasts and flame-streaked skies, meteorites were once thought to be messengers from the gods. Worshipped in the past, now scrutinized with equal zeal by scientists, meteorites helped sculpt Earth’s features and have shaped our understanding of the planet’s origins. Prized for their outlandish qualities, meteorites are a collectible and a commodity, objects of art and artists’ desires and a literary muse; and ‘meteorite hunting’ is an adventurous, lucrative profession for some and an addictive hobby for thousands of others.           

A richly illustrated, remarkably wide-ranging account of the culture and science surrounding meteorites, Golia’s book explores the ancient, lasting power of the meteorite to inspire and awe.


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“It is pretty feeble merely to accept that meteorites come from the sky without considering the variegated significance of the falling rocks. Meteorite does a splendid job in countering the widespread lack of curiosity by illustrating the religious, social, literary, artistic, political, economic, and even culinary impact of meteorites, with the help of reportage and anecdote as well as site photographs and portraits. . . . Golia writes vividly and wittily and her text is fully but discreetly referenced. . . . And if meteorites are exploited to sell chocolates, ale, and face powder, they also tell us, as she puts it, that the universe is grand past all imagining.’ 

- Times Literary Supplement  (JC BookGrocer)

'This is a beautifully written, well-researched book that looks at the science, history, and social aspect of meteorites. Here is the story of stones from space, and I recommend it to anyone interested in these fascinating bits of other worlds which have landed here on Earth.' - Christopher P. McKay, NASA Planetary Scientist

Maria Golia is the author of Cairo: City of Sand (Reaktion Books, 2004) and Photography and Egypt (Reaktion Books, 2009). Living in Egypt, she is a fellow of the London-based Institute of Ecotechnics and writes about historical and contemporary issues related to urban, social and outer space.

General Fields

  • : 9781780234977
  • : Reaktion Books
  • : Reaktion Books
  • : 0.408
  • : October 2015
  • : 21.00 cmmm X 15.20 cmmm X 1.50 cmmm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : January 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Maria Golia
  • : Paperback
  • : en
  • : 551.397
  • : 240