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Turned Out Nice: How the British Isles will Change as the World Heats Up

Turned Out Nice: How the British Isles will Change as the World Heats Up [Kindle Edition]

Marek Kohn
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Kohn, one of Britain's platoon of first-class popular science writers, injects some delightful coolness and subtlety into [the climate change debate] ... An imaginative journey through different parts of the British isles, crammed with detail. From egrets to thorium and nuclear fusion, the spread of beavers and kites to the prospects of British cattle-farming and the coming winter wheat boom, Kohn fills his pages with vivid specifics, drawn from an awesome-looking library of research ... This is a good primer for anyone who wants to think about the British future without being suicidal or consciously blinkered. --Andrew Marr, FT

'[A] talented writer who has tackled a range of social and scientific subjects ... Kohn's exhaustive research offers up a series of fascinating insights ... His readiness to delve into diverting minutiae during his journeys around his chosen habitats constantly enlivens his meticulous unravelling of the consequences of our excesses upon our home turf.' --Independent on Sunday

'The sheer volume of erudition that he brings to bear on this topic is itself a sign of hope.' --Observer

Book Description

From 'one of the best science writers we have', a stark and authoritative vision of Britain after a century of global warming.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 626 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Non Fiction (3 Jun 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003U9V9FS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #188,090 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
'Turned Out Nice' is an exploration of the British landscape and how it will change, with different chapters focusing on specific places, such as London, the Yorkshire Dales, the Scottish Highlands. As well as showing the changes to local geography, each place is a springboard to look at wider issues, such as sea level rise, or drought.

Sometimes the links are more obscure, with discussions leading off in unexpected directions. One begins with Sizewell nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast, ponders the fate of the migrating birds that nest there, and then follows them north to talk about Russian gas reserves under the Arctic ice. That gives the book a rambling, conversational style that makes it an unpredictable read. It's a style that I quite like, with all kinds of interesting discussions and thoughts tucked away, but some might find it a little unfocused.

Asking imaginative questions is Kohn `s strength here, translating the clearly vast amount of science behind the book into real-life scenarios for non-scientific readers. Will terraced houses become more desirable than detached houses when insulation becomes critical? Will our relationship with Spain be reversed, with the Spanish coming on holiday to England to escape the heat? Will we have to rename London's Green Park if it's no longer Green?

There is room for these kinds of questions, as this isn't a gloomy book full of doom and dire consequences. Sitting in the `Atlantic shade', Britain will be sheltered from the worst excesses of climate change, and its climate may actually improve. The biggest changes to life in Britain may well turn out to be social and political.

Climate change could make us "the envy of the world", but what will that do to us as a nation?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but where on earth are the maps? 29 Sep 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is by no means a bad book - in fact it's rather good.

For instance it really places the present in the context of a much wider sweep of time; it places possible environmental and technological impacts of climate change in the context of how we Britons live our lives; and it provides a fascinating window into the broader geographical processes that shape the landscapes that make up our country. Smashing stuff.

But then, why on earth are there no maps? If you are talking us through the flood-vulnerable areas of London, from Barnes to Woolwich, wouldn't it be nice to have some form of illustration for the reader just to glance at? And what about a nice little illustration of the chunks of Sussex and Norfolk in the next two chapters? And so on and son on.

Three stars only because this is frankly a barmy oversight.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vision of our future 29 July 2010
Turned Out Nice is a very well thought out vision of how climate change may alter the British Isles and our way of life.

The world's climate has always been unstable, varying from Ice Ages to warm periods, and there is no reason to believe that this will not continue. This book doesn't concentrate on why the climate changes, or even if the current warming is necessarily being accerated by man, although on balance it probably is. The main thesis is that the climate will get warmer.

The good news for those of us living in Britain is that our climate is likely to improve because of the stabilising effects of the Atlantic water around us, albeit with more extreme weather events, but for the majority of the world their climate is likely to become far more extreme and in places unsustainable.

The fact that here is likely to become one of the most attractive climates to live in is very much a double edged sword. Although climate has always changed never before has the world had so many people to sustain. The book touches on the pressures of population movements but in my mind this will be the most dangerous aspect of a changing planet.

Already areas of Africa which once could sustain large populations are finding drought a far more common event. New conflicts are likely as people need to find more arable land. Many of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean are likely to become unbearably hot in the summer months leading to a northern migration.

Quite how Britain will face up to this massive immigration pressure is not extensively covered in Marek's book, but then I guess this is one aspect of the future which nobody knows the outcome of, and the book is certainly no less interesting because of it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Global Warming on a Local Scale 25 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've read several excellent books on climate change and ecological themes, most notably Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet and The World without Us. Marek Kohn's fine work ranks right up there with the best of them.

Despite the rather sensationalist cover, Kohn's text offers a balanced and thoroughly researched view. He looks at each landscape in the context of its past, examining how it has reached its present form and the stresses to which it is subject, before looking at how these factors are likely to change in the context of a warmer climate. Inevitably, I was drawn to the chapters dealing with the landscapes most familiar to me (as a Sussex lad, I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Cuckmere Haven), and other readers may find the same. But that's not to say that the other chapters weren't interesting, and the quality of the writing ensures that the book as a whole is an engaging and enjoyable read.

Some of Kohn's more speculative predictions might, in the long term, prove to be rather fanciful - somewhat akin to 'your home in the year 2000' pieces from old episodes of Tomorrow's World. However, that's a minor niggle, and predictions about future technologies are not a primary component of the book. The real focus in the natural world, with each landscape representing a different type of ecosystem. And this, for me, is the book's great strength. Its structure allows us to see how climate change will alter things on a local scale, bringing a sense of immediacy to a subject that can often seem too vast to comprehend in a meaningful way.
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