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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent (and not too short) introduction
Very well-written, with the key concepts clearly explained, and with no "dumbing down" of the science. The author does a splendid job of explaining isotopic ratios in sediments and ice cores, and the graphs in this section are particularly useful. The biographies of the main players in this fascinating story help the reader to engage with the geology. Excellent!
Published 9 months ago by John Charles

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not bother!
So boring!!
Very little palaeoanthropology or archaeology - or science for that matter
If you like lists and biographies of people who contributed to this subject area - then this is the book for you. A short introduction to nothing!
Published 21 days ago by A. Wilson


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent (and not too short) introduction, 10 Feb 2014
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Very well-written, with the key concepts clearly explained, and with no "dumbing down" of the science. The author does a splendid job of explaining isotopic ratios in sediments and ice cores, and the graphs in this section are particularly useful. The biographies of the main players in this fascinating story help the reader to engage with the geology. Excellent!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction, 6 Mar 2014
This review is from: The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
The Ice Age delves back to the onset of Ice Age research – to the discovery of the Adams mammoth in 1799 and a landmark letter from Charles Darwin in 1873. It tells the entertaining story of climate change research from these early discoveries through to the present day, to incorporate the latest revolutions in Ice Age research.

The story demonstrates how key scientists, from across the natural sciences, have contributed to our knowledge of climate change. It has taken several centuries of dedicated research to arrive at our current understanding of the Earth system, and the book highlights what an important, interdisciplinary journey this has been. Pioneering figures such as Charles Lyell, Louis Agassiz, and William Buckland took centre stage in the great Ice Age debate as the glacial theory was devised and deliberated in the glaciated valleys of Britain and the European Alps during the 18th and 19th Centuries. During World War One, Milutin Milankovitch completed the painstaking task of calculating (using only pen and paper!) how the orbital relationships between the Earth and the Sun influence the amount of solar energy our planet receives. When he published his findings in 1941, the true gravitas of his work was not fully recognised. We had to wait several decades until the Milankovitch theory was fully credited…

We follow the Ice Age research story to the pioneering work of Nick Shackleton and colleagues on the deep ocean sediment record during the 1970s, and that of Hans Oeschger and Willi Dansgaard and their teams on the ice core record in the 1980s. It is these incredible archives that have allowed us to produce detailed insights into long-term climate change at a resolution and timescale that was not previously possible. Importantly, these findings provided the thread that could finally tie together the early work of the 18th Century scientists, with the orbital insights of Milankovitch, and with our most recent hi-tech research.

The author dedicates time to all heroes of our research field, both sung and unsung, and brings them to life as we learn some important anecdotes from their own scientific journeys. Who knew that a little-known cotton miller from Lancashire was the first to propose that floating ice may be able to transport sediments? Or that the papers containing Milankovitch’s orbital theory were almost destroyed by fire during World War Two? Or that Nick Shackleton decorated his lounge with computer printouts of the oxygen isotope curve for a celebratory party?

Alongside the narrative of these fascinating characters, the methods used by scientists through the ages are detailed with equal clarity. Jamie Woodward guides us through the entire Earth Science toolkit, from glacial geomorphology through to radiocarbon dating and oxygen isotope analysis. Information boxes also provide helpful information such as: ‘Quaternary dating methods’ and ‘What is an erratic boulder?’.

This is a truly comprehensive, highly accessible, and entertaining biography of Ice Age research: where we have come from and where we are going. It serves both as an excellent introduction for those not yet familiar with Ice Age research and as a valuable reference point for all natural scientists. It is a must-read for anyone intrigued by the excitement of scientific discovery!

From [...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars where's mi Contents page?!, 23 Aug 2014
By 
Yangonite (london United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Would have given this 5 stars if my kindle version had come with a contents table - mentioned it to the Amazons but no reply.

Anyone else had the same problem!

EDIT: it DID have a contents table and was merely down to my lack of proficiency in using my new kindle that I could not find it! So, hand up - "I'm an idiot. Mea culpa".

As for the book, yes I haven't changed my original 5 stars opinion. Particularly interesting was the way the author explained how the then completely unorthodox idea of an ice age gradually and slowly gained ground, until finally accepted by the scientific establishment.
Also of interest was the explanation of the techniques used to elucidate the nature of past climates - lake/ocean floor sediments for a general picture, but ice cores for far more detailed information even down to a season within an individual year.
The subject of the book, basically climate change, could be seen as relevant to today's rapidly changing climate. This, I'm sure was intended by the author, it feeling somewhat like a moral tale at times. I do not criticise this. One sobering fact mentioned was how paleo-atmosphere information had been gleaned from the ice cores, and how levels of CO2 in the present atmosphere had been compared with levels in these ancient atmospheres. The last time levels were as high as today was in the Miocene when sea levels were 40 feet higher than present.

So in summary - lucidly written, morally telling, very interesting and hugely informative - all in a pocket sized little book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does its job well, 9 April 2014
This review is from: The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
"The Ice Age" is an excellent addition to the VSI series and does its job well, providing a short introduction to a wide range of topics particularly to do with the history of the development of ideas about the Quaternary ice age. The book uses the scientific stories of important individuals in the history of the discipline to introduce and explain key ideas to do with climate change, reconstruction of past climates, dating historical records etc. The book particularly emphasises the historical development of science in this area, to the extent that it is as much a book about the history of ice age science as about the ice age itself. The book has all the characteristics of the VSI series, including the usual compact format. The VSI books sometimes do feel as though a larger book is being physically squeezed into the smaller format, and some of the books lose a little bit of print quality in the illustrations during the process. The flaps on the card covers appeal to some people, and not to others, but they are certainly a distinctive feature of these little books!
One of the great strengths of this book is that it provides short introductions to a wide range of important topics in a convenient format for readers who want to get to grips with the basics of the subject area. In fact, it manages to go usefully beyond the basics despite the compact format.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 8 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This is a beautifully written VSI which kept me completely engaged. It details the key discoveries that have been made by a colourful array of characters from the 19th century to the present day in understanding the Ice Age past. As someone who knew little to nothing about this subject, I found the book fascinating but also wonderfully accessible. The author has brought the subject alive with anecdotes and snippets of information about some of the main players in the Ice Age debate. It also taught me about the modern techniques used to reconstruct how the climate has changed and how these changes to the environment took place so often and rapidly. Did you know that mammoths still existed at the time the Great Pyramids were being built? The author's enthusiasm comes across wonderfully. He conveys the importance and relevance of our Ice Age history to the present. I would highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Summary of How Our Understanding of Glaciations Developed, 8 April 2014
This review is from: The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Jamie has bought together a vast amount of material and presented it as a story of the how our understanding of glaciations has developed. The book is accessible without being simple and is especially strong in showing how long it took to satisfactorily interpret the evidence. It takes us all the way from summer field trips observing the landscape to cosmogenic isotope dating. In a time of rapid climate change it is well worth taking the time to think about how the world changed during the Quaternary Period.

The series format are attractive illustrated books that you can take anywhere. A great travel companion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ice Age. A Very Short Introduction., 2 April 2014
This review is from: The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This book is a must for anyone with even the slightest interest in our planet and in the forces which shape its ever-changeing climate and landscapes
The presentation is exceptionally clear, logical and well-ordered. All my questions were anticipated and then answered as the book progressed.
A complex story is cleverly condensed into a readily understood summary for the general reader. Thoroughly absorbing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A subject brought to life, 8 April 2014
This review is from: The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Very well written and entertaining. Jamie has done a great job in bringing a potentially dull subject to life - using stories, quotes and quips from the key ice age `explorers`. Well researched and just about the right level of technical detail - enough to educate whilst remaining light and readable.

GM
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Clearly presented and full of hard won scientific ..., 27 July 2014
By 
J. Holmes "Old Hobbs" (Ottawa Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Excellent. Clearly presented and full of hard won scientific information. Should be read in conjunction with the VSI on Global Warming.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 1 July 2014
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This review is from: The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Excellent reminder that we should be glad that there is some global warming rather than an oncoming Ice age
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The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Jamie Woodward (Paperback - 30 Jan 2014)
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