A journey across centuries and continents to experience the wonders of snow; from the prehistoric humans that trekked and even skied across it tens of thousands of years ago to the multi-billion-dollar industry behind our moving, making, and playing with snow. Whittell explores how snow dictates where we live, provides us with drinking water, and has influenced countless works of art and more.
... a fact-packed volume that’s downright giddy with enthusiasm for its subject ... Whittell’s writing is sometimes undisciplined. Twice in three pages, he cites the same quote...and his own enthusiasm for ski-jumping feats produces some pretty extraordinary claims ... Though his prose occasionally is hackneyed ('Nature can be cruel'), it can also be lithely on the mark ... He’s also consistently good-humored, offering readers helpful hints where needed ... Even as Whittell plays himself up as a zany snow fanatic, he has a serious message to convey.
... wonderful, wide-ranging ... Whittell is a genial guide to the slopes. He has the gnarly cool of the snowboard stunt man, the quiet authority of the scientist and the glee of the schoolboy who has just stuffed a snowball down the back of your jumper ... The chapter about snow in art — What Bruegel Saw — is a fascinating piece of detective work ... If you’re not a skier, if indeed your memories of skiing are more freezing tears of frustration than glorious gliding, then you may struggle with the more athletic chapters ... Put this book on your Christmas list and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
The author has real passion for his subject which communicates to the reader. Whilst acknowledging the power of a snowstorm and the terror an avalanche can bring he writes as a devotee of snow and in the light of our warming planet there is an elegiac feel to the writing ... Although I was reading this in warm spring weather I was carried away to the snow-capped mountains on the trail of the yeti and enjoyed every step of my snowy journey. I also learned a lot about weather systems and the physics of snow. This is as book for anyone who loves snow or is at all curious about it. It is possibly best read in the winter months, curled in an armchair watching the snowflakes fill the sky outside.