- Chronicles how successive generations of natural philosophers, geologists and geomorphologists have come to invent different views of the Earth over the last 250 years.
- Uses as its central viewpoint changing ideas about the significance of the action of rain and rivers on the Earth’s surface.
- Shows how our contemporary “truths” have come to be accepted and exposes the frailty of even the most impeccably scientific visions of the Earth.
1 Inventing Scientific Explanations.
2 Inventing the Age (and Origin) of the Earth.
3 Inventing 'Modern Earth Science': Charles Lyell and 'The Principles of Geology'.
4 Inventing the Ice Age: the Rôle of Louis Agassiz.
5 Inventing a Balanced View of 'Forces Now in Operation': Charles Darwin's Travels in Space and Time.
6 Inventing a Fluvial Landscape: Powell, Gilbert and the Western Explorations.
7 The Invention of the Geographical Cycle and the Synthetic Genius of W. M. Davis.
8 Reinventing a Newtonian Universe: the Reductionist Revolution, 1945-1977.
9 Reinventing the Earth, 1977-: Homo sapiens, History and Micro-organisms.
Appendix I: Cast of Principal Characters.
Appendix II: Selective Glossary of Technical Terms.