The title says it all: this is a brief introduction to the Ice Age. I’ve since read a few other books in Oxford University Press’s brief introduction series, but this one stood out. Woodward gets the mix of history and scientific theory exactly right.
As a self-confessed Darwin groupie, I was already familiar with a number of the early scientific figures involved in the development of our understanding of the Ice Age (Buckland, Lyell, Agassiz, and so forth), but there were many figures I hadn’t encountered before. I was particularly taken by Woodward’s description of the brilliant work of Nick Shackleton in the 1970s, whose analysis of isotopes of oxygen, taken from microscopic shells retrieved from ocean core samples, clearly demonstrated that there had been numerous glacial and inter-glacial periods over the last million years.
A very interesting and useful book.
“…wonderfully droll, witty and entertaining… At their best Carter’s moorland walks and his meandering intellectual talk are part of a single, deeply coherent enterprise: a restless inquiry into the meaning of place and the nature of self.”
—Mark Cocker, author and naturalist
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