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Frozen Earth: The Once and Future Story of Ice Ages Paperback – May 2, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Frozen Earth... should be required reading for anyone interested in the future of the planet." - Times Higher Ed Supplement (thes) "A remarkable story.... Nowadays, with climate change acknowledged in the media, perhaps the causes and consequences of past changes will once again become truly popular issues. This book may help make them so." - New Scientist "Frozen Earth is a comfortable-to-read ecotale.... Macdougall's writing is easy, pegging narrative to history of discovery." - Nature "Packed with detailed information... Macdougall's engaging style makes it a pleasurable and thought-provoking read." - Library Journal "Offers authoritative speculation and explanations of future climate changes, their causes, and their impact on both the natural world and human civilization." - Forecast "Lucid and informative... accessible to the interested layperson." - Publishers Weekly"

From the Inside Flap

"This is a highly readable account of the nature of ice ages throughout earth's history and the evolution of their scientific understanding since the introduction of the term by Louis Agassiz in the 1830s. The shifts in opinion on the merits of the various explanations of ice ages traced by Macdougall make fascinating reading."—Roger Barry, Director, National Snow and Ice Data Center

"Frozen Earth is a thorough and compelling account of the history of ice on earth and of the scientists who uncovered the extraordinary role that ice ages have played in shaping our world."—Gabrielle Walker, author of Snowball Earth

"A fascinating and important read."—Jack Repcheck, author of The Man Who Found Time

"Macdougall takes us on a fascinating journey through the realm of ice age science. He deciphers some of the basic mysteries of the bitter climatic regimes that have gripped the earth in the past and will probably grip it again in the future. This engrossing book has important lessons for anyone concerned with global warming and future climatic change."—Brian Fagan, author of The Little Ice Age
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New Ed edition (May 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520248244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520248243
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Adams on December 23, 2006
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This is one of the best books i've read in a long time, and I read over 100 books each year. Macdougall covers a lot of territory in a rather small book, which could have been twice as long and probably been even more interesting.

Macdougall puts the long history of Earth's climate changes over billions of years into perspective. The earth had been nearly completely frozen, and nearly completely ice free several times in its history. Some of the more fascinating statistics deal with how glaciers have advanced and retreated over millions of years, how human evolution probably took a dramatic departure from our fellow apes due to glaciations, how the sea level has risen 400 feet since the last major glaciations just a few thousand years ago allowing mankind to walk the land bridges between Siberia and Alaska, and even from modern-day France to modern-day England.

This book has none of the hysterical "chicken-little" rantings of those who worry about global warming, and Macdougall shows us that there are far more plausible theories about climate change than the effect of CO2 and fossil fuel use, especially since the earth has had many more serious changes than even the un-educated Gores of the world have been predicting.

A great piece of writing by a real scientist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David W. Jaffin on February 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Frozen Earth" describes Ice Ages from several different perspectives - their own natural history, how the existence of ice ages was uncovered, and the efforts to comprehend their cycles.
The book is very readable and would be enjoyable for anyone interested in ice ages, climate history, or geologic processes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Gallagher VINE VOICE on February 28, 2008
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Frozen Earth is a very good history of the earth's ice ages. The writing is a bit academic at times, and often feels a little too detailed (which is normally a compliment, but seems to slow down the pace of this book more than it should have). This book would be an excellent resource for students of geology and climatology. If you are interested in climate change, this book would make an excellent companion piece to "The Discovery of Global Warming", because "Frozen Earth" could have been aptly titled "The Discovery of Ice Ages".
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Newton Ooi on April 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book describes the history of scientific research into ice ages, and explains the science itself. Each chapter focuses on a specific topic regarding ice ages, and covers the big names who worked in this field. The book makes good connections between the science of ice ages and other topics in science, such as human evolution, global climate change, plate tectonics, and extinction of species. The book gives good descriptions of the science involved without getting bogged down in it, thereby allowing the reader to go through the book quite easily. The overall science level is appropriate for anyone who has gone to college, and the book is quite interesting to read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Whit on October 7, 2011
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For a relatively short and comprehensive ecological history of our planet over the past billion years (with emphasis on past couple hundred million) this book could not be better. You might think the subject a bit dry (which I do not), but the author not only discusses the Earth's history but also reveals how these things were discovered and by whom. A very interesting read that is also unbiased - he does not ruin the story with a political agenda, which this subject seems to attract. I highly recommend. I have already purchased a couple of additional copies for friends.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sara Howard VINE VOICE on April 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
I liked this book. I have known about "Snowball Earth" for a long time. I have studied Geology and read many books about the ice ages. This author explains the concepts skillfully. It is too bad that some readers do not understand the concepts of geology, astronomy and earth sciences. But this author gives an organized and clear story of the history of our planet. Ice has played a critical role in the evolution of our planet.

He notes that we are currently in a inter-glacial (warm) period. Guess what? The ice will come again. Humans should think about this and plan accordinally.

Sara Howard, Author of "Something Funny Happened on The Way to The Moon" and "The Biggest Explosions in The Universe".
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Roald Euller on April 29, 2011
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I won't rehash what other reviewers have written about this excellent book except to say that I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Frozen Earth is organized as a series of biographical chapters focusing on different scientists who advanced our understanding of the history of Earth's glaciations stretching back several billion years. These biographical sketches include Louis Agassiz, James Croll, Milutin Milankovitch and others. I found this fascinating and it whet my appetite for more substantial biographies of these remarkable individuals. Unfortunately, in some cases further scholarship does not exist.
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By Frank Hasty on December 24, 2013
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Another of Dr. Macdougall's excellent books on our planet and the fourth book of his that I have enjoyed, along with "A Short History of Planet Earth, "Natures Clocks" and "Why Geology Matters".
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