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The Future of Ice: A Journey into Cold Hardcover – November 9, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
In this lyrical meditation on deep cold and its potential demise through global warming, Ehrlich (The Solace of Open Spaces; This Cold Heaven) backpacks among the glaciers of the southern Andes, winters in a Wyoming cabin and sails with the research ship Noorderlicht to the Greenland ice pack. Her prose is as sharply observed as poetry and nearly as compressed, and her narrative favors short scenes as fragmented as the breaking ice sheets she encounters. Though it occasionally dips into underpowered assertion ("We're spoiled because we've been living in an interglacial paradise for twenty thousand years"), it often soars to the sublime ("We are made of weather and our thoughts stream from the braid work of stillness and storms"). Ehrlich includes plenty of facts (the area covered by glaciers has diminished by 75% since 1850; increased meltwater from Greenland may actually make Europe colder), but her book is less about science than about sensation: loneliness and the relentless circling of the snowed-in mind; the rumbling of a glacier as its azure ice crumbles away; the whistling, ululating calls of the bearded seal. It does not lay out the workings of global warming nor attempt to provide blueprints for how to rescue what we are losing. It stands, instead, as a passionate elegy to what is melting away.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Will winter cease to exist? With no end to heat-increasing pollution, the season of restorative cold may well be imperiled, and veteran nature writer Ehrlich wonders if "the end of winter might be the end of life." After chronicling her remarkable sojourns in Greenland in This Cold Heaven (2001), she now reports on equally astonishing treks at either end of the earth, where the great polar ice caps reflect the sun's heat back into the sky; where penguins, polar bears, and seals are utterly dependent on deep cold; and where pollutants amass in toxic concentrations. Ehrlich testifies poetically and expertly to the bracing glory and ecological significance of winter as she recounts her demanding cold-weather experiences in Montana, among glaciers in Chile, and in the Arctic. Her involving account is richly veined with personal disclosures, philosophical revelations, and lucid explanations of the dire consequences of a warming earth. By absorbing so intensely the beauty and function of dramatic places essential to the ecosphere, Ehrlich, like Barry Lopez and Peter Matthiessen, brings into focus a crucial environmental issue and, hopefully, provides more impetus to the effort to confront global warming. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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There are a ton of cliches. She repeats words all the time, and some of her "poetic" phrases aren't really that poetic. They're forced...WAY forced. In the first half of the book, she uses the word "womb" so much that everything she tries to say while using that word falls on deaf ears. I was so sick of seeing the word "womb." She uses an insane amount of personification, too. Much more than necessary.
This woman is obviously a very, very good writer, and even more importantly, someone passionate about ice and snow. Her passion is vital to even writing this book, and through her travels, from Patagonia to Wyoming to Spitsbergen, her fear, her apprehension about the disappearing snow, ice, glaciers....it's heartbreaking. I think the description, though, is kind of off. There's not much science at all in this book. Arctic dreams had quite a bit of science, but this book is very low on scientific fact, and that seems to be a description word for the book.
Either way, I'm glad I read this book, but it is far from one of the better nature books about ice and snow. The idea was good, the writing is alright, but there are a lot of things that were just done too many times and too intensely, and they ended up destroying the entire mood of the book. What's important to me is that I know where this woman is coming from and how she sees, but I don't know that what she's saying is the right rendition of what she feels. A little less "poetic" intensity, and a little more scientific fact, would be nice.
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