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Snow: A Scientific and Cultural Exploration

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  111 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Brimming with interesting facts and surprising anecdotes, this scientific and cultural history opens our eyes to the wonders of one of nature’s most delicate, delightful, and deadly phenomena: SNOW! Perfect for fans of The Hidden Life of Trees and Rain.

Go on an extraordinary journey across centuries and continents to experience the wonders of snow; from the prehistoric hum
...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by Atria Books
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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Thomas
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, netgalley
4 stars for an interesting, informative read.
This eBook is full of interesting facts and figures about snow--such as moisture content, how much snow falls in a year, why all snowflakes are unique and much more. If you are a science/nature fan, you will love this book.. There is a whole chapter devoted to skiing and to the scene of James Bond skiing off a mountain in "The Spy Who Loved Me."
The scene was filmed with an amateur skier who had skied off El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. So there
...more
Thomas
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, science
4 stars for an interesting, informative read.
This eBook is full of interesting facts and figures about snow--such as moisture content, how much snow falls in a year, why all snowflakes are unique and much more. If you are a science/nature fan, you will love this book.. There is a whole chapter devoted to skiing and to the scene of James Bond skiing off a mountain in "The Spy Who Loved Me."
The scene was filmed with an amateur skier who had skied off El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. So there
...more
Bandit
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, it’s fair to say by now that White Christmas is going to remain in the land of dreaming where I live and since I do tend to live through books, reading about snow seemed like the next best thing. This book title promises scientific and cultural takes on snow and delivers both. Ok, the scientific one was ever so slightly too detailed, but the rest was just great. From avalanches to Yetis (oh hey, that would be a nice tagline too), this book covers the subject as thoroughly as…well, a solid ...more
Renee (The B-Roll)
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you Atria Books for providing me a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!  When I saw this book available I was so excited because as a weather lover and armchair meteorologist (hey, when I started university, meteorology was my first major!) at heart I have a fondness for anything that relates to weather or that can teach me.  And of course, I LOVE snow, perhaps too much and it was never something that I thought about scientifically or culturally.  

This book is divided
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Claudia
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
It seems odd that I read a book on snow while the area was getting one of the more significant snowfalls of the season.

Anyway, this is a fast-paced and detailed book that is available to any reader. Although the author does go into the physics of snow creation with all its variations along with the scientists who made those discoveries. Admitted snow addict, Giles Whittell then goes into quite the variety of subjects that could be associated not only with snow itself but those that interact wit
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Debra
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Narrated by MaryBeth Wise, and acquired by the National Library for the Blind and Print Disabled's BARD app.

Let me just say that despite living in NYS's Mohawk Valley, I TRULY HATE SNOW! That means that I am just out of luck every winter.

Nonetheless, this fascinating book about the science and folklore (Yeti, anyone?) surrounding snow kept my interest. But I still don't want to see any flakes!
...more
Cathy
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-books
As a Buffalo, New York resident and snow lover, I was excited to read this copy of Snow by Giles Whittell. The book is front-loaded with a lot of technical information about the composition and behavior of snow. If you are a weather nerd (like me) you will especially enjoy this portion, if not, keep plowing through. The rest of the book is full of story-telling and anecdotes about avalanches, James Bond, the development of ski technology and more. You’ll learn about glacier melt and global warmi ...more
Casey Wheeler
As indicated by the title this book is all about snow. The author has an obvious love and passion for the subject. Over the course of the book he addresses the different types of snow, records and events in different parts of the world and the consequences of not being prepared or ignoring warning signs when it comes to snow and its impact on the envioronment.

I recommend this book ffor those who have an interest in snow and are looking for an informative and engaging read on the subject..

I recei
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Fenne
I really enjoyed the cuteness and it being about snow, but it was a little dull sometime
Samantha
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s not difficult to find nonfiction that is well written in the sense that the book is impeccably researched and immensely knowledgeable. What’s much harder to find is nonfiction that reads well; Not just for those who are highly interested in/knowledgeable about a given topic, but also for those who might be dabbling hobbyists or just intellectually curious.

Whittell’s book on snow is an excellent example of one of those rare instances in nonfiction where the author writes so compellingly tha
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Lynn
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"This scientific and cultural history opens our eyes to the wonders of one of nature's most delicate, delightful and deadly phenomena". The beauty of snow. The density of snow. The uniqueness of each snowflake and why this is so. The many Eskimo words for snow [snow on the ground, falling snow, drifting snow, snow drift, fine snow, deep snow, snow floating on water].

Tribiology is the study of friction, and, when humans discovered the slipperiness of snow, all kinds of things began to happen. Th
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Peter
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very much a follow up to my previous book, The Snow Tourist. The writer Giles Whittell is chief leader writer for The Times so appropriately there was a lot more facts and researched has gone into this book. The personal and family touches were of added interest. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and learnt many things I didn't know about snow and snowfall. An interesting and informative book. ...more
Kim
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Though much of the world’s population lives in areas that do not receive much, if any, natural snow, the human race has an obsession with the white stuff. We like to slide down it on skis and sleds. We rely upon it for water to drink and to irrigate our crops. We enjoy pictures of snow and the idea of it coating our homes in fluffy white in time for the holidays. But the science of snow– how it forms, why it is slippery, and even why no two snowflakes are ever identical– is not something we gene ...more
Tonstant Weader
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Snow was always of paramount importance while growing up in northern Minnesota. Walking out to the main road to put the flag out for the snow plow could be easy or difficult depending on the quality of the snow. Fine powdery snow was fun, though I would get soaking wet. Meanwhile if there were a hard surface on top of the snow so each step had a hitch when breaking through, that was about as hard as it would get. We didn’t have fifty words for snow, but the different qualities mattered. It was t ...more
Nathan
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
From an author who, if the zeal reflected in his prose is the sole indicator, deserves to author a book about the subject.

Switching from explorations on how it forms, enthralls, delays, surprises and incorporates into our lives (not to mention how it kills via avalanche), Whittell wishes to tell us just about everything we can fit into a book about snow, save for photographs (although the history of those are even mentioned). Just exactly why are no two flakes the same? Is it snowing less or mo
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Terzah
Dec 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This wonderful account of snow and our human life with it was a breath of frosty air after a summer of fires here in Colorado. A friend of mine once said that he believes one reason too many people are lackadaisical about climate change is that too many people don't like COLD. Reading this book might help rectify that attitude. And those who need no convincing to love snow and cold and the culture that human beings have built around them and fear their loss on a warming planet will enjoy Whittel ...more
RMazin
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Since childhood snow has held a great fascination for the author Giles Whittell. Luckily, for readers, this love of snow has never left him. Coupled with Whittell’s keen writing abilities, sense of humor, and journalistic investigative skills, I enjoyed facts previously ignored or unknown by me. There is the physics of snow, avalanches, history of epic snowfalls, snow gear and machines, ski resorts and races, and even the story behind that iconic James Bond opening. Each chapter opens up another ...more
Daniel Sim
The writing was a bit chaotic and the ideas didn't seem to have a good flow between chapters. I did appreciate however, the good amount of information which was packed into this book. Some more diagrams would have been appreciated to explain the direction of winds and moisture in geographical locations where it snows. Having to stop and search some of the more local spots and then chart out how the atmosphere was churning to cause the discussed results was a bit of a roadblock in continuing the ...more
Marcy Graybill
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was ok
Giles definitely describes the science of snow, it's very interesting and somewhat technical a bit of a slog.
Sadly the cultural exploration is mostly the history of the highest snow falls, some information on avalanches and a lot about skiing. I was expecting information on cultures who live with snow most of the year. How they cope, what they do in/with the snow, how the rely on snow. But really the author just discussed skiing, the history of skis, extreme stunts in skiing and his own persona
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Steve
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Grew up in Canada and didn’t know all this about snow

I enjoyed this book. Giles Whittell writes with a conversational tone and with a good sense of humor. The book is a broad discussion of snow including science (that never gets technical) and sports. This close look at snow turns the mundane or even the troublesome into a fascinating phenomenon of nature. I will try to remember this next winter.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley for review purposes.
Cindy Lauren
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Snow: love it for its beauty, hate it for its pain in the butt qualities, sometimes.

So interesting to learn more about what it is, how it falls, sticks and melts. Fascinating stuff, both the science and how snow affects us. Well written, easy to read, super interesting. Whether you have to deal with it or simply look at pictures of it, so much more to understand.
Paul
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at snow from a variety of angles. With scintillating facts and interesting anecdotes and stories, this contains a lot of surprising and fun info told in an engaging way. Seemed extremely well researched, too. Highly recommended.

I really appreciate the review copy!!
Rachel Adrianna
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
VERY well written and accessible to readers without an extensive science background. Clearly well researched and contains a lot of information... some of the chapters/ topics seems tangential but the author remained a clever, and at times poetic, voice throughout.
Karen
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Enjoyed this immensely. My favorite kind of nonfiction - the author covered this broad topic with good humor, first person experiences and lots of scientific observation. And a good serving of global warming warnings as well.
Caroline
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book would have been much better if it included maps and references.
Jerrid Kruse
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting anecdotes about how snow is formed, adventures of skiers, cultures that depend/enjoy snow, and the impact of climate change.
Judy
Sep 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
The science behind the creation of a snowflake was interesting. The book only confirmed that snow it's becoming increasingly scarce. ...more
Jodi
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really fascinating, just a bit too technical for me to grasp easily. But I learned a lot.
Sophie
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am stunned. Snow, for me anyway, is the perfect non-fiction book. It combines the author’s own contagious passion for snow with fact and science. Which, let me tell you, makes for a fabulous read. The book was so personal, to both the author and the individual, exploring specific memories that we all share. It interweaves human culture and man’s perspectives with the ethereal idea of snow. The sentiments dotted around statistics are haunting. I LOVED Snow.
Claer Barber
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read for a few snowy February days. Loved the chapters on snow science, how it forms, when and where, how snow influences our culture....like how snow has been depicted in art (and relates to snow fall). The science noted extends to snow in relation to clinate change, and was very interesting, if concerning reading. The bits on skiing were of less interest to me (as a non-skiier), and a bit more on wildlife impact would have been nice.
Overall a good read.
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Giles Quintin Sykes Whittell (born 1966)[1][2] is an English author and journalist who has worked for The Times as Correspondent in Russia and the United States.

Whittell was educated at Sherborne School[2] and Christ's College, Cambridge (B.A. 1988).[3] He has worked for The Times of London since 1993, first as US West Coast Correspondent from 1993 to 1999 and later as Moscow Correspondent (1999–2
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