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Bill Streever, Cold : Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places. New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2009. xii + 292 pages : maps ; includes bibliographical references and index.
Bill Steever, an Alaskan biologist, takes his readers through the cycle of a year visiting different places affected by cold. Not just the temperature, but the geology, the impact on human habitation and plant and animal adaptations. He includes the history of the science of cold, the search for absolute zero, and human exploration into regions were temperatures fall to 60 (°F) below.
This is the kind of natural history-science book I love, the kind I can open up at any page and find something really intriguing. He includes writings by authors who have studied the cold, animals that live in cold habitats or lived through expeditions into frigid climates including Apsley Cherry-Garrard, John Muir, Farley Mowat, and Bernd Heinrich.
There are sections on the discovery of the ice ages. There are many references to animal adaptation, evolution and migration. Why do some animals thrive in the cold and others migrate? And it's not just animals, all life forms have found their place on this planet and as the climate changes all living things adapt or die.
Streever talks about climate change in a balanced way, describing planetary changes and changes exacerbated by human technologies. He is enthralled by the cold, and saddened by the prospect of loosing areas of colder climates. This well-written little book is full of interesting facts about humans and animals that live in the cold.
-- Notes by GG