Three books referenced here are: “And Soon, I Heard A Roaring Wind: A Natural History of Moving Air;” “Heat: Adventures in the World’s Fiery Places;” and “Cold: Adventures is the World’s Frozen Places,” by Bill Streever, a scientist who is currently exploring the open seas in a 50-foot sailboat named Rocinante with his wife and co-captain, Lisanne Aerts.
It isn’t often that one comes across three exceptionally well-written non-fiction books by a best-selling Alaskan author that describe some of the fundamental elements of nature – but each work is evocative and compelling in its own unique way.
In all three books, Streever delves deeply into the natural world with the sophisticated acumen of a biologist, yet with the wonder and curiosity of a child. He writes with an experiential style that puts the reader right where he is – whether it is wading in the freezing Arctic Ocean, walking across the torrid 125-degree desert of Death Valley, in the heart of great storms in America and across the world; or on a small sailboat in the Pacific Ocean tacking into 50-knot winds.
In his latest work, “And Soon, I Heard A Roaring Wind, A Natural History of Moving Air,” Streever reflects upon the world’s first weather forecasts, Chaos Theory, and artfully describes a future affected by climate change, drawing from his experiences as a scientist. Streever shares stories of wind-riding spiders, wind-sculpted landscapes, wind-generated power, wind-jostled airplanes and even winds’ effects on World War II.
In “Heat, Adventures in the World’s Fiery Places,” Streever explores how heat has shaped the human race. He reminds us how our survival depends on maintaining ourselves within a very narrow range of temperature. As part of his exploration, Streever hikes in Death Valley at 125 degrees Fahrenheit and even braves hot coals in a California “fire walk,” deftly guiding readers through an incendiary world at the top of the thermometer.
“Cold, Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places” was published in 2009 and was on the New York Times bestseller list. Streever explores benign cold, threatening cold, and monstrous/scary cold – not only through history and science books, but also in person. His wanderings include Alaska and other frozen spots around the world. He has worked in Arctic Alaska and chairs the Science Technical Advisory Panel of the North Slope Science Initiative.
Published by Little Brown and Company, New York, N.Y., all three titles and other Streever books can be purchased through Amazon or at local book stores.
Streever’s other books include “Saving Louisiana? The Battle for Coastal Wetlands;” “Green Seduction: Money, Business, and the Environment;” and “Cold, Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places.” He has authored or coauthored more than 50 technical publications on topics ranging from plant competition to the evolution of cave organisms to environmental economics, and regularly writes book reviews for the New York Times.
Editor’s Note: Frank E. Baker is a member of the ECHO News team and an avid outdoorsman. He and wife, Becky, a retired school teacher, live in Eagle River.