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Rain is elemental, mysterious, precious, destructive. It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world's water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain. Cynthia Barnett's Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster," Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume. Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is a book for everyone who has ever experienced it.
A history of the world's favorite scent and flavor looks at the diverse impact of vanilla on the worlds of medicine, psychology, politics, and food, tracing the history of vanilla through the centuries and offering a host of intriguing insights, trivia, lore, and recipes. 20,000 first printing.
The Equatorial Rain Forest: A Geological History presents the equatorial vegetation as a dynamic entity with varied and highly significant history. It also discusses other types of equatorial regions. It addresses the vegetational history from a palaeoecological viewpoint. Some of the topics covered in the book are the vegetation of equatorial regions; the prelude to the quaternary; the quaternary vegetation of equatorial Latin America; the quaternary vegetation of equatorial Africa; the cretaceous period; and the quaternary vegetation of equatorial indo-malesia. The value of vegetational history is fully covered. The effect of man on vegetation is discussed in detail. The text describes in depth the methods of studying vegetational history. The Paleocene, Eocene, and Oligocene epochs are presented completely. A chapter is devoted to the palynological evidence and synthesis. Another section focuses on the xeroseres, hydroseres and related successions. The book can provide useful information to botanists, geologists, students, and researchers.
Charting innovative directions in the environmental humanities, this book examines the cultural history of climate change under three broad headings: history, writing and politics. Climate change compels us to rethink many of our traditional means of historical understanding, and demands new ways of relating human knowledge, action and representations to the dimensions of geological and evolutionary time. To address these challenges, this book positions our present moment of climatic knowledge within much longer histories of climatic experience. Only in light of these histories, it argues, can we properly understand what climate means today across an array of discursive domains, from politics, literature and law to neighbourly conversation. Its chapters identify turning-points and experiments in the construction of climates and of atmospheres of sensation. They examine how contemporary ecological thought has repoliticised the representation of nature and detail vital aspects of the history and prehistory of our climatic modernity. This ground-breaking text will be of great interest to researchers and postgraduate students in environmental history, environmental governance, history of ideas and science, literature and eco-criticism, political theory, cultural theory, as well as all general readers interested in climate change.
Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. Gathering Moss is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses. Robin Wall Kimmerer's book is not an identification guide, nor is it a scientific treatise. Rather, it is a series of linked personal essays that will lead general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings, from salmon and hummingbirds to redwoods and rednecks. Kimmerer clearly and artfully explains the biology of mosses, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us. Drawing on her diverse experiences as a scientist, mother, teacher, and writer of Native American heritage, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world. Gathering Moss will appeal to a wide range of readers, from bryologists to those interested in natural history and the environment, Native Americans, and contemporary nature and science writing.

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