Coral : a pessimist in paradise
The book starts with Jones looking at a coral brooch which came down to him from his sea-captain grandfather. He goes on to describe how coral reefs are formed, showing how Darwin's ideas were eventually proved correct when reefs were used in nuclear tests Coral can reproduce asexually rather than grow old and die, so hopeful humans have harvested and sold them as rejuvinatives. They also live as symbionts, but recently there has been much 'bleaching' of coral where they split up with their symbiotic partner. There's a chapter on earthquakes and epidemics, and one on the links between corals and carbon in several forms including diamond and CO2. So you can see that theres plenty of opportunity for pessimism. Jones concludes the book with a chapter on the destruction of coral reefs, and its uncertain future.
In The Single Helix I felt that Jones chapters were too short. Here I felt that they are too long at 30 - 40 pages each without anything to break them up. If you like the sort of book which rambles from one thing to another, sometimes with only a tenuous link to the main subject, then this might suit you, but I wouldn't recommend it to readers who want to learn about corals.