Synopses & Reviews
Antarctica is the most alien place on the planet, the only part of the earth where humans could never survive unaided. Out of our fascination with it have come many books, most of which focus on only one aspect of its unique strangeness. None has managed to capture the whole storyand#8212;until now.
Drawing on her broad travels across the continent, in Antarctica Gabrielle Walker weaves all the significant threads of life on the vast ice sheet into an intricate tapestry, illuminating what it really feels like to be there and why it draws so many different kinds of people. With her we witness cutting-edge science experiments, visit the South Pole, lodge with American, Italian, and French researchers, drive snowdozers, drill ice cores, and listen for the message Antarctica is sending us about our future in an age of global warming.
This is a thrilling trip to the farthest reaches of earth by one of the best science writers working today.
"Tahiti's gone condo, but mysteries are still waiting for those who know where to look: not necessarily in different places but even, as Bill Streever shows in Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places
, at different temperatures. Cold
describes a journey to a sensation that, in our comfortable, climate-controlled lives, is as foreign to most of us as New Guinea itself. (Though both offer opportunities for shedding a few pounds: 'Cold
, really, is like malaria. If it does not kill you, it will help you lose weight.')" Benjamin Moser, Harper's Magazine (read the entire Harper's Magazine review)
From avalanches to glaciers, from seals to snowflakes, and from Shackleton's expedition to The Year Without Summer
, Bill Streever journeys through history, myth, geography, and ecology in a year-long search for cold — real, icy, 40-below cold.
In July he finds it while taking a dip in a 35-degree Arctic swimming hole; in September while excavating our planet's ancient and not so ancient ice ages; and in October while exploring hibernation habits in animals, from humans to wood frogs to bears.
A scientist whose passion for cold runs red hot, Streever is a wondrous guide: he conjures woolly mammoth carcasses and the ice-age Clovis tribe from melting glaciers, and he evokes blizzards so wild readers may freeze — limb by vicarious limb.
Journeying to the most alien place on the planet, science writer Gabrielle Walkerand#160;presents aand#160;biography of Antarctica, weaving its history of explorationand#160;with the science currently being conducted there. Walker gives usand#160;glimpses at the marvelous creatures clinging to life above and below the ice, the international community drawn to an existence of extremes, the desolate stretches of surface that yield surprising information about life beyond our planet, and the crumbling ice shelves acting as global climate bellwethers.
About the Author
Bill Streever chairs the North Slope Science Initiative's Science Technical Advisory Panel in Alaska and serves on many related committees, including a climate change advisory panel. A biologist, he lives with his son in Anchorage, where he hikes, bikes, camps, scuba dives, and cross country skies, as often as the weather allows.
Table of Contents
Map of Antarcticaand#160;x
PARTand#160;1:and#8194;EAST ANTARCTICand#160;COAST and#8211; ALIEN WORLD
1.and#8194;Welcome to Mactownand#160;3
2.and#8194;The March of the Penguinsand#160;33
3.and#8194;Mars on Earthand#160;89
PART 2:and#8194;THE HIGH PLATEAU and#8211; TURNING POINT
4.and#8194;The South Poleand#160;141
PART 3:and#8194;WEST ANTARCTICA and#8211; HOME TRUTHS
6.and#8194;A Human Touchand#160;259
7.and#8194;Into the Westand#160;309
Suggestions for Further Readingand#160;363