Heat: Adventures in the World's Fiery Places (Hardcover)
An adventurous ride through the most blisteringly hot regions of science, history, and culture.
Melting glaciers, warming oceans, droughts-it's clear that today's world is getting hotter. But while we know the agony of a sunburn or the comfort of our winter heaters, do we really understand heat?
A bestselling scientist and nature writer who goes to any extreme to uncover the answers, Bill Streever sets off to find out what heat really means. Let him be your guide and you'll firewalk across hot coals and sweat it out in Death Valley, experience intense fever and fire, learn about the invention of matches and the chemistry of cooking, drink crude oil, and explore thermonuclear weapons and the hottest moment of all time-the big bang.
Written in Streever's signature spare and refreshing prose, HEAT is an adventurous personal narrative that leaves readers with a new vision of an everyday experience-how heat works, its history, and its relationship to daily life.
About the Author
Bill Streever is the author of the national bestseller, Cold. He chairs the North Slope Science Initiative's Science Technical Advisory Panel in Alaska and serves on many related committees, including a climate change advisory panel. A biologist, he lives with his son in Anchorage, where he hikes, bikes, camps, scuba dives, and cross country skies, as often as the weather allows.
PRAISE FOR HEAT:
"Confronted in 2009 with the best-selling success of "Cold," biologist Bill Streever was all but obligated to take on "Heat," but he's done it with more verve and creativity, giving readers a virtual page-turner ... He writes cleverly, clearly, at times beautifully ... He's a friendly tour guide, with a wry sense of humor." -- The Cleveland Plain Dealer
A "thoroughly entertaining companion volume.... Streever operates in some of the same territory as Mary Roach and Bill Bryson: taking on big, serious topics, and making them entertaining without making them trivial, inserting himself into the narrative without overwhelming the material. This is a fine balancing act." -- The San Francisco Chronicle
"In this worthy companion to Cold, Streever is able to mix the pop science, personal experiences, and historic asides into a fun and informative commentary on a subject that few people think about despite its inherent life and death implications." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Engaging, easy-to-read, free-ranging exploration of a natural phenomenon. Funny and factual blend of science, history, and adventure." -- Kirkus Reviews
"This book, equally engaging and filled with fascinating facts, will appeal to old and young, and likely sell like superheatedcakes." -- The Huffington Post
"Streever's book is rangy and free-form.... Evocative scientific explanations also punctuate his exploits.... He clearly has an affinity for extremes and a gutsy, undaunted spirit that enlivens both his inquiries and his writing." -- Smithsonian Magazine
"Bill Streever has now covered the full spectrum. As he did with his previous book, Cold, Heat reminds us that our survival depends on maintaining ourselves within a very narrow range of temperature, but Streever has gone ahead and surveyed the extremes." -- The Daily Beast
"Bill Streever is an able guide into the flaming regions of our beleaguered evirons... a rare nature book, a pleasing mix of first-person narrative and layman science. The facts come fast and furious but are served on a platter of digestible prose." -- The Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Streever's easy-going, colourful prose is at its best in his vivid descriptions of historical events." -- The New Scientist
"Streever has a knack for explaining scientific phenomena to a general readership, confidently surveying both the historical development of scientific research and chemical reactions." -- The New Republic
"This intense, pacy ride through the thermal kicks off with thirst and ends with quarks freed by heat ... Simmering with verve throughout." -- Nature
"He adeptly explains scientific principles and their applications in human terms, and via specific examples. It's almost as if Streever has hit upon a winning formula for popular-science writing that doesn't...dumb down the substantive science.... Streever has a nice touch. He variously makes you think and smile. Sometimes he achieves both at the same time." -- Winnipeg Free Press
"The reader follows the arc of the narrative like a bird following a chain of crumbs, swallowing one detail after the next. The factoids are fascinating." -- The Anchorage Daily News
"An enormously engaging, entertaining, and informative portrayal of heat in a wide range of settings. Streever's own passion for science comes across clearly throughout the book. Please read and share this book. The final word is awe." -- Karen McNulty Walsh, Brookhaven National Laboratory
"Heat is packed with anecdotes, and Streever's boundless enthusiasm for high-temperature topics makes the book an engaging read. He is at his best when relating his own adventures." -- Science News
"An illuminating romp sure to delight connoisseurs of extreme geography and ignite everyone's inner pyromaniac." -- David R. Montgomery, author of The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood
PRAISE FOR COLD:
"Original and organic: it is flinty and tough-minded, with just enough humor glowing around the edges to keep you toasty and dry...Streever's prose does what E. L. Doctorow said good writing is supposed to do, which is to evoke sensation in the reader ... This book is chilling in too many ways to count." -- Dwight Garner's Top Ten Books of 2009, New York Times
"Cold is a love song to science and scientists, to Earth and everything that lives on and flies over and tunnels under it. It's impossible to read the book and not fully realize that our planet must be protected." -- Mary Roach, New York Times Book Review
"Fascinating...Streever's affection for cold offers intellectual air conditioning." -- Irene Wanner, Los Angeles Times