Try an audiobook on us

Life on Earth

Narrated by: David Attenborough
Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
5 out of 5 stars (191 ratings)
Regular price: £19.99
£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Editor reviews

Now, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the book’s first publication, David Attenborough has revisited Life on Earth, completely updating and adding to the original text, taking account of modern scientific discoveries from around the globe. This special anniversary edition provides a fitting tribute to an enduring wildlife classic, destined to enthral the generation who saw it when first published and bring it alive for a whole new generation. 

Summary

Shortlisted for best audiobook in the Specsavers National Book Awards 2018.

The nation’s greatest voice, David Attenborough, reads a brand-new edition of Life on Earth, now available as an audiobook for the first time.

David Attenborough’s unforgettable meeting with gorillas became an iconic moment for millions of television viewers. Life on Earth, the series and accompanying book, fundamentally changed the way we view and interact with the natural world, setting a new benchmark of quality, influencing a generation of nature lovers. Told through an examination of animal and plant life, this is an astonishing celebration of the evolution of life on earth, with a cast of characters drawn from the whole range of organisms that have ever lived on this planet. Attenborough’s perceptive, dynamic approach to the evolution of millions of species of living organisms takes the reader on an unforgettable journey of discovery from the very first spark of life to the blue and green wonder we know today.

Now, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the book’s first publication, David Attenborough has revisited Life on Earth, completely updating and adding to the original text, taking account of modern scientific discoveries from around the globe. This special anniversary edition provides a fitting tribute to an enduring wildlife classic, destined to enthral the generation who saw it when first published and bring it alive for a whole new generation.

This audiobook includes wildlife sounds from BAFTA Award winning sound recordist, Chris Watson, who has worked extensively with David Attenborough on his BBC projects. A soundscape appears at the beginning of each chapter to provide a fully immersive experience of the habitat and some of the species described. A full list of the tracks, as they appear in the audiobook, is available below.

  • Prologue - Acacia scrubland dawn chorus in the Masai Mara, Kenya, featuring White-browed Robin-chat. 
  • Chapter One, The Infinite Variety - Tropical rain forest in Panama with the calls of Montezuma oropendola.
  • Chapter Two, Building Bodies - Fish and crustaceans recorded underwater on a coral reef off Seligan island, Borneo.
  • Chapter Three, The First Forests - Geysir and geothermal activity at Haukadalur hot springs in Iceland. This track also features the Strokkur geysir erupting. 
  • Chapter Four, The Swarming Hordes - Evening insect chorus in the Conkouati forest reserve, Republic of Congo.
  • Chapter Five, The Conquest of The Waters - Ocean currents through sea kelp recorded at a depth of 8m, Moray Firth, Scotland.
  • Chapter Six, Invasion of The Land - Reed frog chorus at sunset, Amboseli National Park, Kenya.
  • Chapter Seven, A Watertight Skin - Seawash around basking marine iguanas, Isla San Cristóbal, Galapagos.
  • Chapter Eight, Lords of The Air - Springtime dawn chorus with nightingale, Hambleton wood, Rutland Water nature reserve, UK.
  • Chapter Nine, Eggs, Pouches and Placentas - forest chorus along riverside platypus territory, Queensland, Australia.
  • Chapter Ten, Theme and Variation - Common Pipistrelle bats echolocating after sunset, Holystone woodland, Northumberland.
  • Chapter Eleven, The Hunters and The Hunted - Spotted hyena contact calls at midnight in the Masai Mara, Kenya.
  • Chapter Twelve, A Life in The Trees - Black howler monkeys calling across the tree canopy at sunrise in Belize.
  • Chapter Thirteen, The Compulsive Communicators - Street market, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, Northern India.
  • Epilogue - Beach habitat in mangroves with Great frigatebirds and red footed boobies, Isla Genovesa, Galapagos.
©2018 David Attenborough (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    179
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    173
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    164
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely brilliant

I was some what sceptical about this at first...how could the magnificent tv series with all the amazing photography be translated into an audio recording. David Attenborough's beguiling voice in the sample convinced me to try it and I am so glad that I did.

I cannot recommend this highly enough. I know I shall play it over again and again as it makes such wonderful listening, and the word pictures he creates more than compensate for the lack of photographic imagery. In a way the time sequences of the millions of years make more sense.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!!

This is my first book on this app and I love it. It is a great book and I can not fault it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Outstanding.

Amazing. Enthralling. Awe inspiring.
All standard superlatives to describe pretty much anything David Attenborough touches.
If any of his work appeals to you, it’s impossible that you’d be anything but captivated by this.

Simply WONDERFUL.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

World class audio book

I highly recommend this audio book. It is very insightful, full of interesting facts about how life has evolved and shaped modern day environments

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating and mesmerising!

The story is already know by most of us. As usual when David Attenborough is involved it's told in a engaging and captivating style, with the best voice a narrator could have and with so much liveliness that one at times see pictures instead of just hearing words. Truly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Simply astonishing

An amazing book. I cannot recommend it any higher. Download and listen to this now

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing

I think this is one of the best books ever written. a true masterpiece. highly recommended

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Greatest Story Ever Told!

This is in my opinion one of the most important books of our time. This audiobook is eloquently and masterfully narrated by David Attenbotough, the world authority on Natural History. Its message is profound - every lungful of air, every mouthful we eat, every drop of fluid we drink is totally dependent on our relationship with the natural world. If we don't live in peace and harmony, our very future and that of our planet is in peril. I highly recommend purchasing the accompanying Kindle book as it contains fantastic photographs of creatures described.
An absolute gem of an audiobook and well deserved 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great

sir Attenburgh is always great. his voice adds so much to the experience. Wish he read more

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating book!

Interesting facts and details given in a way that sound like storytelling so its an easy liste. I learned a lot of new information, would love for there to be more books that have more specific topics that can go in even more detail

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • D. Renai
  • 25-09-18

100% Pure Attenborough

I enjoy a good, long Attenborogh read. Sedatingly relaxing, and yet, stimulating. The subtle, witty humor is priceless. Sadly, intelligent, entertaining, and informative intellectuals such as Attenborogh, Sagan, Chrichton, and C. Clark are almost exctinct. I play your Audiobooks to my daughter, Mr. Attenborough, so she may gain the wonderful gift of incite into the natural world you gave to me.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Phillip F. Reid
  • 14-03-19

David Attenborough tells the story of life

as only he can. Treasure. Worth listening to all the way through even if you're familiar with the BBC series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kaksi Maksi
  • 21-02-19

Excellent look at the history of life

This is a very well written book from David Attenborough, detailing the history of life on Earth, from the very beginning. He takes us through all of the developments of life, like adapting to living on land, in an easy to understand manner, always giving evolutionary explanations as to why things happened the way they did.

His performance is perfect as usual, he speaks clearly, understandably.

Five star book, recommended to everyone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Writing
  • 26-12-18

Worth listening to several times

I had no idea when I downloaded this easy to miss book that it would bring as much pleasure and knowledge into my life. It is a book that tells what is arguable the most important story on the planet earth: how does life happen. Or perhaps more egocentrically: How did humans happen. I'm not sure if Attenborough set out to tell the story of how humans happen but he starts with the primordial soup on earth 4 billion years ago and moves through invertebrates, vertebrates, reptiles, birds, mammals, and then starts zeroing in on primates and ends with us. It's a lovely story and one that we think we know but there is plenty in this book that will remind you of things you thought you once knew and plenty that you've never heard before. Example: there is this frog that gets eggs implanted in scratches under the skin of its back where the eggs mature and then burst forth when they are ready. Forgive my imprecision -- I'm often listening late at night -- and it's soothing -- I listen to it over and over. Attenborough's voice is mesmerizing and the story he tells is of immense importance -- we are the only species on this planet that has altered the planet to the degree that we have. He stop short of writing a global warming polemic -- but I hope we will one day. I'll listen to that too!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Grace K
  • 05-12-18

Life itself

Sir David has a voice that is both enthralling and soothing. The content is fascinating as well

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James S Varner
  • 07-11-18

amazing as always

well written, well read. always a pleasure to experience the writing of Sir David Attenborough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • C.O.
  • 09-04-19

Excellent book

Excellent book! There were a lot of interesting nuggets of information. I highly recommend this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ken
  • 07-04-19

True Genius

David's storytelling ability is nearly exceeded by the gravity of the information he conveys in this epic tale.