As more evidence that I will read anything, I came across “A world without ice” in my Sony Reader library and decided to give it a go. Now, the title could be the title of just about any genre of novel but I knew that this was a non-fiction book as its author is Henry Pollack, Ph.D., and any author who lists his Ph.D. is writing a serious book. A little knowledge never hurt anyone so, in spite of wanting to read “The hobbit” again before the movie is released, I decided to give it a try.
The book starts with an introduction by Al Gore and then goes into the history of ice not only on Earth but in the solar system. Now, this may sound like a dull topic but I found it to be interesting. How ice has impacted our world and has come to shape and change the world and our society was fascinating. Less interesting were the descriptions of Arctic and Antarctic explorations that I felt were too lengthy for the value that they added. Humans fascination with Antarctica is not integral to the point that the author is making even if the politics of that continent are fascinating.
After laying historical groundwork, the book moves on to global warming and how this is effecting the world’s ice and, by extension, the ocean and even how it is already beginning to have an impact on society. Now, like almost everyone, I have a baseline awareness of global warming and an opinion on the matter (which is not important here) but many of the things Pollack discusses were new and interesting to me.
There has been much debate on global warming in recent years and Pollack makes his position very clear and gives science to back it up. Whether one agrees with him or not, “A world without ice” is still an interesting and informative look at the subject. Regardless of personal opinions, “A world without ice” provides a good look at how ice and water work on a planetary level to help facilitate life on Earth. Pollack keeps the topic interesting as he provides information on how the ecosystem functions and seeks to inform the reader. His personal opinions are present yet not overpowering. Even if the reader has a dissenting opinion on global warming, the book is still relevant in its presentation of science and theories in a non-preaching or judging manner.