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The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 30 Jan 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (30 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199580693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199580699
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.5 x 11.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

I very much enjoy delving into the A Very Short Introduction series for a short, but not too short, summary of a subject. The Ice Age is another in this extensive series published by Oxford University Press. There are more than 350 volumes in the series and they aim to provide a 'stimulating and accessible' way into a new subject. (Weather)

For me, this is just the right approach. Science is not just facts, but it is also people, blind alleys, prejudices... and egos. Taken together, this is a heady mixture which has been expertly stirred together. (Geological Journal)

This is a quite delightful book, in every way. It is well written. It is stacked with new research, something that is not easy for such a 'well-worn' topic, and not a word is wasted. It also includes a large number of cameos that enhance our understanding of Quaternary Science. (Proceedings of the Geologists's Association)

Well written, engaging, and accessible. (Geographical Journal)

This is a truly comprehensive, highly accessible, and entertaining biography of Ice Age research. (Climatica)

About the Author

Jamie Woodward is Professor of Physical Geography at The University of Manchester. He has published widely on Quaternary environmental change and human activity in ice age environments and has extensive field experience in the Mediterranean region and in the Nile Valley. He is the Co-Editor of Geoarchaeology: An International Journal and is the Quaternary Science and Geomorphology Editor for the Journal of the Geological Society of London He has recently co-authored four chapters and edited The Physical Geography of the Mediterranean for OUP (2009).


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If your particular interest is science history then this is the Ice Age book for you. It has a great deal of detail about the historical development of the understanding of the ice age, stretching back to times when scientists were beginning to overturn ideas that many geological features were created by the biblical flood. The path of discovery and debate amongst the great scientists of the day does make a fascinating story, though personally I was a little disappointed since I am more interested in the current understanding of events, which occupies only about a third of the book. A good read, nonetheless, but if you just want an account of current thinking (or ice age wildlife) it might be better to look elsewhere.
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Format: 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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