The must-read natural history book of the season from the Governor General’s Award-winning author of Water.
Wind makes life on earth possible. It moderates climate, dispersing the sun’s rays and carrying moisture from the oceans to the land, where it falls as rain. Its action created the great rivers that nurtured the world’s earliest civilizations and permitted the development of the first technologies not dependent on human or animal energy. Winds affect human history, too. A Saharan sandstorm foiled the Persian invasion of Egypt in the fourth century B.C., and the Spanish Armada went down in defeat because the winds conspired with the British to blow in the wrong direction. Winds taught mankind to sail, and then to fly.
This book delves into the origins of wind and weather. It looks at the power of the oceanic storms, at hurricanes, tornadoes, dust devils, and at the way the human species is tampering with the global climate. But wind is the most forgiving of our natural phenomena and in it nature has given us a perpetual motion machine that we can use to make things better. Always engaging and often provocative, Marq de Villiers has once again given us a compelling investigation of the natural world.
Born in South Africa, Marq de Villiers is the author of nine books on exploration, history, politics, and travel, including Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, which won the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction. With his wife, Sheila Hirtle, he is also the author of Into Africa: A Journey through the Ancient Empires, Sahara: A Natural History, and A Dune Adrift: The Strange Origins and Curious History of Sable Island. Formerly a nationally renowned journalist, and executive with the Key Magazine group, Marq now devotes himself to writing books from his home in the teeth of the weather in Port Medway, Nova Scotia.
“A refreshing narrative of meteorology.”
— New Scientist
“Bad weather almost always makes good copy, and those who study wind and weather can be counted on to do all sorts of neat things.”
— New York Times Book Review