Braving the Elements

David Laskin, Author Doubleday Books $23.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-46955-5
Laskin (A Common Life) contends that weather is a ``human fabrication'': the condition of the heavens becomes what we call ``weather'' only ``after it has touched us and we have touched it.'' Thanks to the science of dendrochronology, it is possible to determine what American weather was like in prehistory, but the subject becomes more absorbing with the advent of the Puritans. They were devout believers in what the author terms theological meteorology, which placed the praise or blame for the vagaries of our climate on God's doorstep. Current practitioners of this applied science, aided by radar, satellites and computers, are able to bring a little order out of the chaos that is the enduring characteristic of weather. And with the development of global warming theories, more emphasis is now placed on terrestrial rather than celestial solutions to weather problems. From Native American rain dances through the establishing of the U.S. Weather Bureau in 1891 to changing styles of TV weatherpersons, Laskin engagingly covers it all. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1996
Release date: 01/01/1996
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-385-46956-2
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