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Posted March 28, 2008
A warm and fleeting sort of anthropology
Deep into The History of the Snowman is a gorgeous fresco of robed and hosed medieval folk hurling snowballs at each other outside a castle. It's one of those images you just don't learn in Art History unless you've gone on a tour of the castles of Northern Italy. Its presence in this book exposes just how much wonderful history of playful or political human interaction with snow has remained unexplored, untaught. The book is funny, enlightening, and occasionally a little dense with its facts (so many - so unknown!). It is a quick read (oodles of info don't slow it down) and filled with surprising pictures of snowfolk, both contemporary and historical (from Old Dutch and Italian to Charles Addams). In both art school and meteorology it deserves to become a standard text, one of those professors turn to when students get too serious about their subjects. And its inclusion of the true olde-tyme snowball-fight fresco will warm my heart for years to come.
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