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Iceman: Uncovering the Life and Times of a Prehistoric Man Found in an Alpine Glacier
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Iceman: Uncovering the Life and Times of a Prehistoric Man Found in an Alpine Glacier

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  137 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
On September 19, 1991 a couple hiking along an Alpine ridge stumbled upon a frozen, intact corpse melting out of a glacier. He was dubbed "the Iceman," and his discovery—along with the realization that he was actually 5,000 years old—set off a whirlwind of political, scientific, and media activity that made him an overnight sensation. In this remarkable and dramatic book, ...more
Paperback, 330 pages
Published September 16th 2001 by University Of Chicago Press (first published April 11th 2000)
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Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An interesting book ostensibly about Ötzi the Iceman (Ötzi rhymes with 'tootsie', fact fans). While the book does faithfully report the state of knowledge on this five thousand year old frozen chap at the time it was written, the book is equally about the problems that arise when the media tries to get quick answers from a scientific process that can necessarily take years to complete, as well as the dangers when scientists start to care more about their status with the media and with their earn ...more
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting non-fiction book telling the story of the discovery of a 5,000 year old mummy in the alps and the measures taken to learn about him and preserve him. The science as they worked to unravel the mystery of his life and death was very interesting and very easy to follow. The power struggles and politics over his body were just as interesting. I didn't really expect this book to be nearly as fascinating as it was.

My only complaint about this book is that it ends years ago,
A rather simplistic account if the life of one of the worlds most famous characters. The author takes a narrative rather than an informative approach to the subject which provides an easy to follow introduction to the subject for those with no previous knowledge however it may prove to be too basic for those with a strong interest in archaeology in prehistory.
Sandy Kemsley
Good intro before my visit to see the actual frozen guy in Bolzano. The information could be updated, there's a lot of new research that has been done since this was published, although the story of the discovery and (somewhat botched) recovery was really good.
This discovery was very interesting to me for 2 reasons: love of archaeology and having visited the Tyrol region of Austria.

I was horrified to read how slapdash the recovery of the body was. The lack of proper documentation of the environs and the positioning of the body and items nearby are almost criminal to me. Not to mention the crappy quality of the pictures taken or at least as provided to the author for use. Then it was 1991.

The author did a great job following the science discovery as w
Nov 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This book deals both with what the discovery of Otzi, the 5000 year old mummy found frozen in the Tyrolean Alps, what information we have gleaned about his life and times from his corpse, and the scientific squabbles that thus ensued. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about what few facts were unearthed from Otzi's corpse and found the details about his life and times endlessly fascinating. As for the latter, while it is important to see the process by which scientific discovery unfolds, I often foun ...more
May 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Trena by: Bill Bryson, At Home
Although Ötzi the Iceman, the 5000 year old corpse of a Bronze age dweller in the Alpine mountains, was discovered in 1991 while I was in high school somehow I have no memory of this, even though I'm sure I would have found it as fascinating then as I find it now. I ran across a chance mention of him in another book and put this one on my list. It is well worth a read.

Ötzi was discovered by chance by a pair of hikers, his head and shoulders sticking out of a glacier, the rest of him firmly encas
April Brown
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
What ages would I recommend it too? – Twelve and up.

Length? – Several day’s read.

Characters? – Memorable, several characters.

Setting? – Real world 1990's primarily in Austria and Germany.

Written approximately? – 2000.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? – Ready to read more. Have more scientific studies been completed?

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? Yes, a updated section on the more recent results. A timeline withing the book would also be nice.
Carol Smith
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I can clearly recall the discovery of Ötzi the Iceman back in 1991 and how much of an overnight global sensation he became. Like so many others, I was instantly fascinated with this 5,000 year old frozen man, his possessions, and his mysterious back story. So I really looked forward to reading this, despite the fact that I was doing so 13 years after it was published.

Several other reviewers seemed to tire of the author's strictly narrative approach, but that's precisely what I enjoyed. Politics
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
The most recent update and synthesis of the results of scholarly investigations into the life, death and times of Otzi, the frozen prehistoric man found in a glacier in the Alps. Although much has been learned from his body, clothes, arrows and stone age ""fanny pack"", it remains a mystery how he traveled to and died in the mountains (murder? hunting accident? natural causes?). It is also a cautionary tale of the immense problems caused by two competing bureaucracies over whether the glacier wa ...more
Max Carmichael
Sep 21, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting, thorough, well-presented, but tragic story that shows science as the flawed human activity that it is, revealing science's profoundly traditional, irrational and destructive tendencies, in the very culture of the European aristocracy and bourgeoisie in which science itself originated and in which all its principles were laid down.

The tragedy is that the body was found, disturbed, and exploited. Of course audiences are going to be attracted to this kind of spectacle - the dominant
Priscilla Benbrook
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: aborted-reads
Too much narrative, not enough science. I REALLY wanted to finish this book--how could a book on Ötzi the Iceman not be fascinating? First part of the book was fine--people talking about his discovery, etc. However, in the second 1/4 of the book, things changed. It turned into a tangled mass of government officials & academics trying to lay claim to the poor old guy. I kept having to flip back pages to see who was who. Finally, I looked ahead and didn't see much of an end in sight, so I gave ...more
Matt Kuhns
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this broad survey of the discovery of the "Iceman" quite a bit. This is probably not the best work about the scientific findings, but it's a well-rounded story of the people who made those findings, and the social and political forces at work alongside.

Note of warning, though, not since The Grapes of Wrath have I read a book that simply stops—rather than ends—in such blunt fashion.
Tim Petersik
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fascinating story of the scientific attempts to explain the life and death of a man who was preserved for a LONG time in ice. Since the publication of this book, it's been fun to read about new discoveries. Great story. Piques your imagination. It was a birthday gift from my daughter some years ago. Thanks, TP.
Cynthia Karl
Apr 18, 2014 rated it liked it
An interesting book on several levels - the actual discovery of the 3000 to 5000 year old man, the personalities involved in the recovery and examination, the rivalry of the researchers and the different interpretations.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Future archaeologists.
Recommended to Sydne by: Mom.
Ever since I was a child I wanted to be an archaeologist.

Of course, my mom supported me in this.

She started buying me things on ancient artifacts, dinosaurs, and Otzi*, the ice man.

I was incredibly intrigued.

I know a lot about him.

(*wish I had an umlaut key)
Arapahoe Libraries
Not only the story of a mummy, but also of the scientists, politicians, and curators who would decide his fate.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very interesting, well written book. I read it on a recent trip to the Alps and found it very easy to read and informative about both the "Iceman" as well as the region of Tyrol.
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Well written and researched.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was interested in this book because I had read about the fight over possession between different regions claiming the Iceman. An enjoyable read indeed.
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