A deep dive into the unexpected and unexplored ways that ice has transformed a nation--from the foods Americans eat, to the sports they play, to the way they live today--and what its future might look like on a swiftly warming planet.
...a colorful new history of America’s pursuit of crystalline cold ... The resulting work touches on the complex, often counterintuitive science of ice, but Ms. Brady’s real focus is on the human beings who worked out how to harvest, preserve and manufacture it; plunged it into cocktails; invented new sports on its surface; or used it in medicine ... Ms. Brady’s eye for such hidden connections is sharp, and her curiosity is infectious...These subjects, intriguing as they are, are skated over lightly—the scenes, accordingly, whizz by, sometimes merging into a bit of a blur ... Here’s hoping some of the American invention and crystalline insight chronicled in this book will play a role in lowering temperatures both literal and metaphorical.
With Ice, science writer Amy Brady explores a little-known chapter in American business industry, claiming the nation has an 'obsession' with the cold substance. She traces the industry of makng and marketing ice to an erratic, early 19th century entrepreneur, Boston’s Frederic Tudor. The son of wealth had access to a well-stocked icehouse, one of the privileges of upper-class life in northern climes ... Ice is a fun read even given the industry’s ironic downside: refrigeration is a major cause of global warming. Will new technology solve that problem, and keep America cool, before it’s too late?
Brady found ice to be an untapped subject and did enormous amounts of research to fill in the gaps in its history. Divided into four parts that each focuses on an aspect of ice—obsession, food and drink, ice sports, and the future—Ice outlines how frozen water 'profoundly has shaped the nation’s history and culture.' Commentary from food writers, scientists, physicians and historians are interspersed with historic resources such as newspaper articles, diaries and journals, creating unique connections between the past and present. Historical facts and statistics help contextualize the important role ice has played in events like Prohibition, when breweries pivoted to other business ventures that would make use of their existing ice cellars ... Taken all together, Ice makes an important case for securing the future of those freezing cold cubes in a warming world.