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.
"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
"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