Synopses & Reviews
The Arctic doesn't spring to mind when most people think about autumn. Yet in his continuing effort to invite readers' curiosity through unpredictability, Pete Dunne chose to pair the transitional season of autumn with this fragile environment in flux.
The book begins on Bylot Island in Nunavut, Canada, at the retreating edge of the seasonal ice sheet, then moves to Alaska, where the needs of molting geese go head to head with society's need for oil. Then on to the Barren Lands of Canada, and a search for the celebrated caribou herds that mean life and death for human and animal predators alike.
A canoe trip down the John River is filled with memories, laughter, and contemplation; a caribou hunt with a professional trapper leads to a polemic on hunting; and Pete travels to an island in the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska, to look for rare birds and ponder the passionate nature of competitive bird listers.
No trip to the Arctic would be complete without a trip to see polar bears, so Pete and his wife visit Churchill, Manitoba, the polar bear capital of the world. These majestic, but threatened, creatures lead Pete to think about his own life, our interactions with the natural world, and the importance of the Arctic, North America's last great wilderness.
"Cold weather systems the earth needs to thrive is the subject of Streever's well-documented book, using all of the author's expertise from his field trips to the world's most frigid environments. Streever, who chairs the North Slope Science Initiative's Science Technical Advisory Panel, writes of the frostiest experience: 'We fail to see cold for what it is: the absence of heat, the slowing of molecular motion, a sensation, a perception, a driving force.' Rather than giving the reader a dry, academic lecture on snow, glaciers, wind-chill factors and icebergs, he delivers a poetic, anecdotal narrative complete with polar expeditions, Ice Age mysteries, igloos, permafrost and hailstorms. Two of the most fascinating segments are the arduous task of scientific reconstruction of past climates and the magical navigation of migratory birds to warmer lands. This is a wonderful collection of one man's first-rate observations and commentary about the history and importance of cold to the earth and its occupants. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"COLD is a love song to science and scientists, to Earth and everything that lives on and flies over and tunnels underneath it."--Mary Roach, New York Times Book Review (cover review)
andquot;Gabrielle Walker describes very well current activities on the vast ice sheet, from the constant discovery of new undersea life to the ongoing hunt for meteorites, which are relatively easy to track down on the white ice. For anyone who has ever wondered what itandrsquo;s like to winter at 70 degrees below zero, her account will be telling...Absorbing.andquot; andmdash;Bill McKibben, New York Review of Books
andquot;A dazzling array of narratives throngs Antarctica...Antarctica is still the and#39;worldandrsquo;s most mysterious continent,and#39; as it remains the only one on which humans have never lived permanently. Walker captures that mystique through interviews with people who have made Antarctica part of their lives.andquot; andmdash;Nature
andquot;Walkerand#39;s a clear explainer and engaging guide, her descriptions evocative...The true protagonist here is Antarctica itself, and in Walkerand#39;s rendering it easily carries that leading role.andquot;
andmdash;Tampa Bay Times
andquot;Walker tells in rich detail what itandrsquo;s like to survive and do science on the only continent never inhabited by human beings. She spends time with dozens of investigators, revealing both their work and the inner workings of their minds...Walker offers a diverse sampling of the seventh continent and the science done there.andquot; andmdash;American Scientist
andquot;A vivid portrait...We are all anxious Antarctic watchers now, and Walkerand#39;s book is the essential primer.andquot; andmdash;The Guardian
andquot;Walker gained access to a variety of fascinating places and projects. There are fresh and informative sections on the fauna and microflora of this harshest of all habitats, on the use of Antarctica as a terrestrial and cosmic observatory...Walker is also good at sketching the oddly beguiling world of the scientists and support workers who return year after year to Antarctic research stations.andquot; andmdash;The Telegraph
andquot;Hugely informative...Walker uses direct speech to render the material digestible, allowing her protagonists to speak for themselves. She has a gift for lay analogy, as a popular science writer must.andquot; andmdash;The Spectator
andquot;The fascinating story of Antarctica, from the hardships of exploration to its future survival.andquot; andmdash;The Ecologist
andquot;Walkerandrsquo;s account affords a vibrant vicarious experience of traveling around the place on earth most like an alien planet.andquot; andmdash;Booklist
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.
A season of transition in North Americaand#8217;s last great wilderness From Nunavut and the Barren Lands of Canada to the westernmost edge of Alaska and back to Churchill, Manitoba, Pete Dunneand#8217;s experiences in the Arctic comprise wilderness, laughter, and contemplation. Whether hunting caribou, examining the balance between the needs of molting geese and societyand#8217;s thirst for oil, or observing majestic but threatened polar bears, Dunne insightfully considers his own life, our interactions with the natural world, and the importance of the Arctic, the planetand#8217;s last frontier.
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.
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.
The thirdand#160;in a four-book series on humans' relationship to nature. and#160;
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
and#160;and#160;Note to Readersand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;xi
and#160;1.and#160;Where Seasons Meetand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;1
and#160;2.and#160;Fourth of July Paradeand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;32
and#160;3.and#160;Oil and Feathers Donand#8217;t Mixand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;44
and#160;4.and#160;The Barren Landsand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;85
and#160;5.and#160;Bob and Lisa and Linda and Peteand#8217;s
Most Excellent Trip to the Johnand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;131
and#160;6.and#160;Men Without Buntingsand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;171
and#160;7.and#160;Hunting with Heimoand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;189
and#160;8.and#160;The Polar Bearand#8217;s Picnicand#8194;and#8226;and#8194;222