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The Nature, the History, and the Uses of an Astonishing Substance

More brittle than glass, at times stronger than steel, at other times flowing like molasses, ice covers 10 percent of the earth’s land and 7 percent of its oceans.

Mariana Gosnell here explores the history and uses of ice in all its complexity, grandeur, and significance. From the freezing of Pleasant Lake in New Hampshire to the breakup of a Vermont river at the onset of spring, from the frozen Antarctic landscape that emperor penguins inhabit to the cold, watery route bowhead whales take between Arctic ice floes, Gosnell examines icebergs, icicles, and frostbite; sea ice and permafrost; ice on Mars and in the rings of Saturn; and several new forms of ice developed in labs. Arecord of the scientific surprises, cultural magnitude, and everyday uses of frozen water, Ice is a sparkling illumination of a substance whose ebbs and flows over time have helped form the world we live in.

“Gosnell travels to the ends of the earth, into the clouds and under the frozen sea to conduct her investigations . . . By the time you finish this remarkable book, you’ll never think about freezing and melting in quite the same way.”—New York Times Book Review

“To read Ice is to discover just how astonishing it is and how necessary.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“A bright, curious, omnidirectional tour that will entrance nature readers.”—Booklist

“An encyclopedic work with surprises on every page . . . . Illustrated with images of ice castles, skaters, and bubble-filled frozen sculpture, Gosnell’s book breathes life into the crystals dubbed ‘glorious spangles’ by Henry David Thoreau.”—Discover

576 pages | 19 halftones, 33 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2005, 2007

Biological Sciences: Natural History

History: General History, History of Technology


"By the time you finish this remarkable book . . . you’ll never think about freezing and melting in quite the same way. . . . Frozen frogs can be thawed overnight in a refrigerator, but it will be 24 hours before you can expect them to jump. Cool."

Elizabeth Royte | New York Times

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Lakes
Chapter Two: Rivers
Chapter Three: Great Lakes
Chapter Four: Loading
Chapter Five: Breakup 
Chapter Six: Alps        
Chapter Seven: Surging Glaciers
Chapter Eight: West Antarctic Ice Sheet
Chapter Nine: Coring                                       
Chapter Ten: On Glaciers        
Chapter Eleven: Icebergs I       
Chapter Twelve: Icebergs II     
Chapter Thirteen: Sea Ice I      
Chapter Fourteen: Sea Ice II                
Chapter Fifteen: Ground Ice I  
Chapter Sixteen: Ground Ice II
Chapter Seventeen: Plants                    
Chapter Eighteen: Animals I                             
Chapter Nineteen: Animals II   
Chapter Twenty: Animals III    
Chapter Twenty-One: Animals IV
Chapter Twenty-Two: Human I
Chapter Twenty-Three: Human II
Chapter Twenty-Four: Games I
Chapter Twenty-Five: Games II
Chapter Twenty-Six: Uses I
Chapter Twenty-Seven: Uses II
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Uses III
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Other Forms of Ice
Chapter Thirty: Atmosphere I   
Chapter Thirty-One: Atmosphere II
Chapter Thirty-Two: Atmosphere III
Chapter Thirty-Three: Space I
Chapter Thirty-Four: Space II  
Chapter Thirty-Five: Ice Ages
Chapter Thirty-Six: Lake of the Woods
Select Bibliography

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