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« Dispatches from the Culture Wars, by Danny Goldberg | Main | We the People, by Thom Hartmann »


Field Notes from a Catastrophe, by Elizabeth Kolbert

By an everyday book reader
March 1, 2007

Expanding her three-part New Yorker series, journalist Elizabeth Kolbert examines the immediate and far-reaching consequences of global warming, drawing on history and cutting-edge science and discussing the contentious political debate surrounding the issue.

Anyone familiar with Kolbert's work knows how thoughtful and engagingly accessible her writing is. In this blend of hard science, impeccable research, and superb storytelling, she advances her arguments in powerful, persuasive prose -- leading us to the inescapable conclusion that we will pay dearly, even fatally, if we do not take drastic measures now to save our planet from this imminent, pervasive threat.

Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
by Elizabeth KolbertBook Picture

Softcover: 240 pages
ISBN: 9781596911307, 1596911301
Bloomsbury USA
December 2006

Long known for her insightful and thought-provoking political journalism, author Elizabeth Kolbert now tackles the controversial and increasingly urgent subject of global warming.

In what began as groundbreaking three-part series in the New Yorker, for which she won a National Magazine Award in 2006, Kolbert cuts through the competing rhetoric and political agendas to elucidate for Americans what is really going on with the global environment and asks what, if anything, can be done to save our planet.

Now updated and with a new afterword, Field Notes from a Catastrophe is the book to read on the defining issue and greatest challenge of our times.

"Let's hope this powerful, clear and important book is not just lightly compared to Silent Spring. Let's hope it is this era's galvanizing text." - Marguerite Holloway, a contributing editor at Scientific American, teaches journalism at Columbia University

"[A] small miracle of concision, gaining by its brevity and its plan of attack a rhetorical power that elucidates, rises to meet and deftly answers the historic crisis in which we find ourselves." - Los Angeles Times

"Kolbert lets facts rather than polemics tell the story: in essence, it's that Earth is now nearly as warm as it has been at any time in the last 420,000 years and is on the precipice of an unprecedented 'climate regime, one with which modern humans have had no prior experience.' An inexorable increase in the world's average temperature means that butterflies, which typically restrict themselves to well-defined climate zones, are now flitting where they've never been found before; that nearly every major glacier in the world is melting rapidly; and that the prescient Dutch are already preparing to let rising oceans reclaim some of their land. In her most pointed chapter, Kolbert chides the U.S. for refusing to sign on to the Kyoto Accord. In her most upbeat chapter, Kolbert singles out Burlington, Vt., for its impressive energy-saving campaign, which ought to be a model for the rest of the nation-just as this unbiased overview is a model for writing about an urgent environmental crisis." - Publishers Weekly

Elizabeth Kolbert was a reporter for the New York Times for fourteen years before becoming a staff writer covering politics for the New Yorker. She and her husband, John Kleiner, have three sons.

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