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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brief history of ice ages, 22 Aug 2004
This review is from: Ice Age: How a Change of Climate Made Us Human (Penguin Press Science) (Paperback)
There are documentaries about climate and climate change on the telly fairly frequently (every day if you watch the 'Discovery' programmes) and there are often items on the news programmes about changing weather patterns and the weather presenters regularly have some snippet to impart about how we're having more than the usual amount of rain or sun or high winds when you wouldn't normally expect them. Then there are all the weather and climate stories in the magazines and newspaper. So I sometimes get confused. There are so many indicators and some of them seem contradictory, like a bunch of ragged threads that you can't tie together properly. The planet seems to be warming up but some people say it isn't. Plenty of scientists say it certainly is and what's more, we, the humans are causing it. I'm so pleased that I bought this small, clearly written book. It's taken away the confusion and replaced it with a nice, tidy, coherent idea of how climate works. One thing I did understand before reading the book: climate and weather are very very complicated - so making it seem comprehensible to a non-technically-minded person like me, is no mean trick. Just 101 pages, written in plain English and I feel I have a much better understanding than I had only a few hours ago.
The book is divided into 6 parts:
Prologue: The Ice Age Now
Three chapters:
~ The Victorians' Ice Age
~ The Serbian's Ice Age
~ Deep Proof
Epilogue: Ice Ages and Us
Sources
The information is quite densely packed, even though the authors found space for some of the scientists' personal histories - those that added something relevant and interesting. It gets off to an excellent start by telling us that we're living in an ice age and the world has rarely been as cold as it is today. We're given a brief history of the what scientists knew (or thought they knew) about ice ages in the past, starting in the early 19th century, and what they know now - and why they *know* they know it and don't just think they know it. The scientific methods used are very neat and no doubt, very much more complicated than you would guess by reading the book, but they're explained in such a way that I felt I'd had no difficulty understanding as much as I needed to grasp the basics of how it all worked.
I recommend this book to anyone who would like a nice, straight forward, not-too-technical account of how and why our climate changes.
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