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Winter: Five Windows on the Season [Paperback]

Adam Gopnik
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.99
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Book Description

26 Sep 2013

Winter takes us on an intimate tour of the artists, poets, composers, writers, explorers, scientists and thinkers who helped shape a new and modern idea of winter. We learn how literature heralds the arrival of the middle class; how snow science leads to existential questions of God and our place in the world; how the race to the poles marks the human drive to imprint meaning on a blank space.

Offering a kaleidoscopic take on the season, Winter is a homage to an idea of a season and a journey through the modern imagination.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (26 Sep 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1780874472
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780874470
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 346,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'Often startlingly good ... The perfect fireside companion' Observer.

'Gopnik's mind darts about like mercury as he tells his tale' The Times.

'Brilliantly insightful ... Any writer who can take subjects as diverse as Wilson Bentley's snow crystal photographs, Dickens's Christmas stories and the myth that the Inuit have dozens of different words for snow, and find something original and interesting to say about each of them, has to be worth reading' Sunday Times.

'Makes chilliness worth every minute' The Economist.

From the Inside Flap

Winter takes us on an intimate tour of the artists, poets, composers, writers, explorers, scientists and thinkers who helped shape a new and modern idea of winter. Beginning at the dawn of the Romantic era, perhaps the first time in history when mankind was sufficiently protected from the cold that the joy, fear, exhilaration, magnetic appeal and mysterious attraction of winter could be felt as an aesthetic experience rather than a physical discomfort, Adam Gopnik's captivating narrative shows how a love of winter has become, for many, part of the modern condition. Along the way we learn how a poem by William Cowper heralds the arrival of the middle class; how snow science leads to existential questions of God and our place in the world; how the race to the poles marks the human drive to imprint meaning on a blank space; and how a bet in 1865 between a St. Moritz hotelier and four Englishmen led to the birth of winter sports. With every step this kaleidoscopic take on a season dazzles, surprises and entertains.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A walk in the woods 13 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a lovely book - a ramble around winter with no particular aim in mind. But it isn't a completely random miscellany, the unifying theme - winter - holds it together. There's a focus on writers and artists as well as winter sports and polar expeditions, and numerous little wanderings off into intriguing facts and viewpoints. Maybe his most interesting insight is that winter became warm and cosy and something to be enjoyed when people began to heat their homes properly. Before that it was bitter and dangerous. I liked the bit about Christmas - especially the revelation that people were railing against it turning into an orgy of materialism as far back as the end of the nineteenth century. Occasionally he overwrites - almost as though he's decided to establish his philosophical/writerly credentials - but, oddly, I found that to be part of the book's considerable charm.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An inventive insight 25 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This writer puts his own inventive slant on the subject of the season of winter; I think it is his own personal insight into the subject,and chiefly with reference to conditions found in Canadian winters. I found the chapter on polar exploration the most readable and the account of Montreal's underground city interesting but I think the everyday reader may need to re-read some of the more esoteric chapters in order to avoid thinking that the writer gives an exaggerated account of the influence of the phenomenon of winter-time on the world and our lives.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Winter 17 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An interesting set of essays about winter. This is a philosophical book reflecting the author's ideals of the season.
One of the chapters delved into ice hockey a sport I have no knowledge of and found just a little boring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having lived in Canada and visited Montreal in the winter I was prompted to buy this book. I was not disappointed. Gopnik's five essays all offer rich rewards. I most enjoyed the chapter on the Recreational Winter with its history of ice hockey, an aspect of Canada I miss the most. This chapter has a narrative thrust, whereas some of the other material is a little self-indulgent, even prissy (in a good way). For example, the treatment of polar exploration in the Radical Winter is unconventional. I bought the hardback because I think books I will return to and will outlive me deserve that (and I deserve the treat). I was not disappointed, and I may well look out for other titles by the author.
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