The Last Winter: The Scientists, Adventurers, Journeymen, and Mavericks Trying to Save the World

Porter Fox. Little, Brown, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-46092-7
Fox (Northland), editor of the literary journal Nowhere, spotlights a warming world in this moving travelogue about snowy places and the people who inhabit them. Decrying global warming’s effect on glacier ice, snow terrain, and high-altitude snowpacks, Fox pals around with scientists who are studying how Earth’s ice, snow, and winters “affect and even control” the planet’s natural systems. In “interviews, revelations, confessions, treks, bonfires, meals, and contemplative road trips,” Fox tries to wrap his head around a world without winter, and cites grave conditions, such as the prediction that “most [glaciers] will be gone in the next century.” He visits Juneau, Alaska, to meet with glaciologists studying the ice ages; goes to Corvara, Italy, to follow along with mountaineers enduring ever warmer tours through the Alps; and heads to Kulusuk, Greenland, to observe how the Inuit cope with ice loss as glaciers slide into the sea “faster than snowfall could replenish them.” Perilous journeys on skis and by dog sled give this the feel of a rollicking adventure story: “Each driver steered this slightly controlled state of entropy not from the back of the sled, where the brake is, but up front, setting up exciting and often terrifying driving-without-brakes situations.” Environmentalists will find much to savor in this exciting yet distressing tale. Agent: Duvall Osteen, Aragi. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 07/20/2021
Release date: 11/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-0229-5
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