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The Cloud Book: How to Understand the Skies Paperback – 28 Mar 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: David & Charles; First Edition edition (28 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715328085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715328088
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 1 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Richard Hamblyn is the author of The Invention of Clouds, which won the 2002 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; Terra: Tales of the Earth, a study of natural disasters, described by the Guardian as 'beautifully written, richly detailed and brilliantly judged'; and The Art of Science: A Natural History of Ideas, a collection of 101 pieces of readable science writing from the Babylonians to the Higgs boson.

He has also written three illustrated books in association with the Met Office: The Cloud Book; Extraordinary Clouds; and Extraordinary Weather, as well editing Daniel Defoe's The Storm for Penguin Classics.

Richard currently teaches on the Creative Writing BA at Birkbeck College, University of London, and is working on a collection of (mostly) true stories about (mostly) made-up landscapes.

Product Description

Review

The imagery is spectacular, with stunning skyscapes included to make each cloud easy to identify. A factual but easy-to-use guide. Keep it near the biggest window of your house and you'll soon be a cloudspotter too. --BBC Countryfile

A splendidly illustrated cloud atlas showing how they form and evolve. Every variety of cloud is magnificently pictured and accompanied by lively text --BBC SKy at Night

awesome photos […] a passport to deciphering the weather, and one of my most dog-eared books --Paul Simons, The Times

A splendidly illustrated cloud atlas showing how they form and evolve. Every variety of cloud is magnificently pictured and accompanied by lively text --BBC SKy at Night

awesome photos […] a passport to deciphering the weather, and one of my most dog-eared books --Paul Simons, The Times

About the Author

Dr Richard Hamblyn is the author of The Invention of Clouds (2002), which won the LA Times Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He is also the author of The Cloud Book (2008), Extraordinary Clouds (2009) and Extraordinary Weather (2012). He is currently Writer in Residence at the Environment Institute, University College London.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By S. Clout on 4 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book and I was glad I bought it. The foreword is very informative and well written and doesn't boggle the reader with too much science. This book is ideal for those armchair cloud watchers who know a bit about clouds but need to further their knowledge. This book is an essential guide to cloud identification and provides some stunning photos of the clouds themselves. The book is also handy for being able to forecast the weather as you will soon get to know the cloud types and the associated weather that comes with them.
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91 of 92 people found the following review helpful By J. J. N. Mauger on 27 May 2008
Format: Paperback
Recently I found a book that I could only dream of as a child, but which didn't seem to exist. Then I was fascinated by the weather and wanted a book classifying the cloud types with the correct names, symbols and pictures to demonstrate. Richard Hamblyn's "The Cloud Book" does all these things. The beauty of the photographs means it easily qualifies for the coffee tables of the less geeky among us, while neatly illustrating the text for the cloud afficianado. It is not often that you can say a book is perfect in all respects, but may be this is one.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Joanne K. Pilsworth VINE VOICE on 21 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I suggested that my son bought this for his father for Father's Day, as my husband has always been interested in clouds and weather formations. It did not hurt that it had received some pretty good reviews on Breakfast News also.

Excellent book. Good clear photos, as one might expect from the Met Office, straightforward explanations, and a few surprises in terms of understanding the role of clouds in issues such as global warming.

Overall, good book for the coffee table, or somewhere it can be grabbed for quick reference.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By B. Close on 20 July 2009
Format: Paperback
If you like clouds you will love this book. Theres clear photographs and simple(ish) explanations about each type of cloud, how they are formed and their names. I found this difficult to put down and am forever reaching for it when I see a cloud I recognise or one that I dont.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Comelyman on 1 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
A simple to understand and very comprehensive explanation and easy means by which to identify cloud types - outstanding!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By . on 17 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First the good points: The Cloud Book is very professionally finished, with a large number of beautiful photos illustrating the different types of cloud described in the text. The introduction is well-written and interesting, and overall this is certainly an attractive-looking book; something I would definitely pick up and browse through while waiting at the doctor's surgery, or if I found it on a friend's coffee table.

The problem is that I wouldn't read it for much longer after that. The reason is that after the introduction (which is a few pages long) it has more the structure of a catalogue than a casual reading book, with most of the book given over to describing a list of different "cloud types", which doesn't really help you to "understand the skies", as claimed on the cover: it just gives you names to associate to different cloud forms. Unfortunately, reading through a list of cloud classifications does not really do it for me: it doesn't tell you a story, it just gives you facts. Put simply, there is no real reason to turn the page.

On top of this, the author uses a range of meteorological concepts without properly explaining them. As someone who has followed a couple of courses on Meteorology at university, even I struggled to keep up at times. Of course it is possible to not understand all the terms and still get some understanding out of it, but it makes you wonder why the author did not spend a few pages (at least!) explaining some basic concepts in meteorology, rather than diving straight into cloud classifications without giving the reader a solid base of knowledge to build on.

I would give it three stars still because as a coffee-table book for picking up and browsing it is very good, the problem is it's hard to keep interested after half an hour or so of browsing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Dearden on 6 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
LOOKING up into the skies represented, for me, a gaze into the unknown. Whilst I understood, like any student of British secondary school geography would, the basics behind cloud formation, convection, thermals and cloud types, the idiosyncrasies of each cloud, and the effect they have on weather, generally escaped me.

Hamblyn's book has changed that. To pick up, The Cloud Book is instantly accessible with some truly stunning pictures adorning its pages showing off the 27 cloud types, and numerous other cloud-related phenomena (parhelions, lightning, auroras to name but a few) and offers up some interesting reading for even the most casual nephologist. On further inspection, this book shines as a tome of very interesting but not overly complicated descriptions of the cloud types, their implications for the weather and their likely transformations. That is one of the strengths of Hamblyn's book, that it affords you the opportunity to immerse oneself as far as one likes - either scratch the surface of learning cloud types or begin to piece together the bigger picture of cloud transformation and amalgamation.

Each page is handily given over to a particular cloud type or phenomena and everything described by Hamblyn is accompanied by a wonderful full-colour picture. The text is digestible, the pages are well set-out and it is difficult to offer any criticism of the design and layout of the book.

At times, admittedly, the book assumes some scientific knowledge of clouds which necessitates one reading over the same paragraph a couple of times to ensure understanding of the metamorphosis of ice crystals, Noctilucent clouds or whatever phenomena is at hand, but generally the book's accessibility is of great credit to Hamblyn.
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