Tying Down the Wind: Adventures in the Worst Weather on Earth

Overview

Where can you find the worst weather on earth? This book's surprising answer is: everywhere. You don't need to climb Mount Everest or voyage to the icy desert of Antarctica to witness both the beauty and the destructiveness of weather. The same forces are at work in your own backyard.

Tying Down the Wind takes readers on a journey of discovery through the atmosphere, a swirling ocean of air that surrounds and sustains life. The adventure ...
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2000 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Photo depiicts actual copy for sale. Eight pg. of b&w photos. Writer compared to Chet Raymo. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust ... jacket. 280 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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2000 Hard cover Illustrated. New in New jacket New in New jacket New in New jacket New in New jacket New in New jacket New in New jacket New in New jacket New in new dust ... jacket. Fine condition as it came from the store. No bumps, no marks, no creases. Glued binding. Paper over boards. With dust jacket. 280 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Climate; Meteorology; Nature; New England; New Hampshire; Non-Fiction; Washington, Mount (N.H. ); Weather. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Where can you find the worst weather on earth? This book's surprising answer is: everywhere. You don't need to climb Mount Everest or voyage to the icy desert of Antarctica to witness both the beauty and the destructiveness of weather. The same forces are at work in your own backyard.

Tying Down the Wind takes readers on a journey of discovery through the atmosphere, a swirling ocean of air that surrounds and sustains life. The adventure begins in a sunny New England woodlot and ends atop the polar ice of Antarctica-where we learn, remarkably, that the two extremes are not so different after all.

What triggers changes in the weather? How are tornadoes, thunderstorms, heat waves, and blizzards all related? Tying Down the Wind supplies the answers. It will appeal to fans of nature writing and outdoor adventure, as well as anyone interested in understanding the weather that surrounds us.
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Editorial Reviews

The Baltimore Sun
In Tying Down the Wind, he does a great deal to lasso the invisible force that is both a cause and effect of weather. The wind in his lyrical ruminations is an ephemeral spirit, a tangible demon, a great power without which there would be no life and no variation in the Earth’s unpredictable skies….It’s a pleasant, rambling read for thoughtful nature lovers, stitched with folklore and history.
St. Petersburg Times
Pinder knows how to make talking about weather exciting. In Tying Down the Wind, not only does he explain how weather works and what triggers its sometimes violent changes, but he does it with poetic charm.
Minneapolis St. Paul Star Tribune
Pinder, a weather-watcher at the Mount Washington Meteorological Observatory and a magazine and radio journalist, has a knack for making the abstractions of weather phenomena, from the mundane to the extraordinary, palpably clear.
The Washington Post
Tying Down the Wind is clearly meant to be an entertaining, transporting read, neither encyclopedic nor juvenile. Like experiments in cloud-seeding, it is a mixed success. The author can be a good adventure writer-reporter. He describes the adrenaline-producing pleasures of picking out, on foot, in near zero-visibility conditions, the path down a treacherous, snow-covered mountain road for a snocat containing several of his mates. Various encounters, including his own, with disorienting and potentially lethal white-outs are properly chastening. His description of death by avalanche is briefer than Sebastian Junger’s essay in The Perfect Storm on the physiology of drowning, but every bit as hair-raising.
Boston Herald
He touches eloquently on such topics as wind-chill, avalanches, hypothermia, and Antarctica, with its six months of night and its overwhelming isolation.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Pinder’s thoughtful musings on air, land and sea, and the natural forces that climatize each, have an elegiac quality, accented by careful word choice and measured prose….Pinder’s style reads better as a gathering of separate, yet thematically connected, essays than as a cover-to-cover read. The material is as complex and dense in parts as the slushy spring snow of New England. It’s better absorbed and assimilated over the course of several sittings, bolstered by frequent visits to the helpful glossary at the back of the book.
Weatherwise Magazine
Tying Down the Wind is distinguished by the poetic skill with which Pinder transforms experiences with ordinary breezes, sunshine, and humidity into rapturous appreciation for the atmosphere….The book is the product of deep insight. Pinder is a weather observer by trade, but his observations of humanity are equally exacting. He expresses the onset of goosebumps, the drip of sweat, the pain of snow blindness, the fragrance of a summer day, the rebirth of spring, and other common weather experiences with uncommon acuity….Weather is the seed of contemplation and experience, and the fruits of both emerge with memorable vividness in Tying Down the Wind.
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Tying Down the Wind is a great deal like Henry David Thoreau's Walden, mixing as it does philosophy and natural science in a book chock-full of creative, memorable imagery....a pleasure to read. Whether Tying Down the Wind has the staying power of Walden remains to be seen. But I place this book in the same lofty, literary category."
Library Journal
On the summit of New Hampshire's Mount Washington, "Home of the World's Worst Weather," snow can fall in the height of summer and hurricane-force winds blow more than 100 days each year. Not surprisingly, Pinder (Life at the Top: Tales, Truths, and Trusted Recipes from the Mount Washington Observatory), staff writer at the observatory, describes enough extreme weather, hardship, damage, and destruction to make both meteorology and disaster buffs salivate. But as a true weather enthusiast, he is equally eloquent--if somewhat melancholy--when describing quiet mornings tending sheep on a New England farm or an autumn hike near the Berkshire Mountains. Although the author occasionally lapses into meteorological jargon, this book is not just for weather buffs; it would also be a good addition to nature and regional collections. Recommended for public and academic libraries.--Nancy R. Curtis, Univ. of Maine Lib., Orono Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Booknews
Author and Mount Washington weather observer Pinder blends science and poetry in his descriptions of weather phenomena and the forces behind them. As he tours the world's weather from New England to Antarctica, he explains for a general audience what causes weather and how the worst systems (i.e. tornadoes, heat waves and blizzards) are all closely related. Illustrated with some b&w photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585420605
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 8/9/2000
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction                       1
PART I: AN OCEAN OF AIR 3
1. Born in the Belly of the Sun 5
2. Pinwheel 21
3. A Ladder to the Sky 35
4. Fire in the Sky 42
5. Music of the Spheres 53
6. Fresh Air 61
7. Calling the Clouds Names 70
PART II: SEASONS 83
8. Tiptoeing Through Autumn 85
9. Winter 91
10. Snow and Ice 100
11. Cold Spring 114
12. The Invasion of Summer 128
13. Spirit of the Winds 139
PART III: EXTREME MEASURES 153
14. Tying Down the Wind 155
15. The Big Wind 166
16. Dancing the Tango with Mother Nature 177
17. Adventures in Weather 185
18. Going to Extremes 195
19. Chasing the Sun from Pole to Pole 206
20. Antarctica 229
Appendix 259
Glossary 265
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Introduction

Introduction

MARK TWAIN ALWAYS HAD PLENTY TO SAY ABOUT THE weather, particularly New England weather. "Cold!" he once wrote. "If the thermometer had been an inch longer we'd all have frozen to death."

Perhaps his most famous quotation is a phrase he borrowed from Charles Dudley Warner, a Hartford, Connecticut, newspaper editor, in 1897: "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."

Twain wasn't the only one who thought that way. An old joke still making the rounds in the North Country (which humorist Bill Bryson recalls in A Walk in the Woods) is about how winter seems nine months long, followed by "three months of not-so-good sledding."

I've lived in the Northeast all my life, through heat waves and blizzards, thunderstorms and freezing rain, so I'm no stranger to the vagaries of weather. But even as a child I always wanted to know more. In answer to Mr. Sam Clemens' complaint, I didn't want just to talk about the weather--I wanted to do something about it.

"What is wind?" is a question I first asked myself--with the intent of writing about it--while walking through a woody corner of Massachusetts on a frosty autumn evening at the age of 24, listening to invisible breezes sift and surge through the pine branches. This book is the end result of my attempt to find the answer.

IN THE SPRING of 1995, I left Massachusetts and seized an opportunity to investigate the wind like never before. Where better to study the science of meteorology than on a rime-crusted mountaintop at an observatory devoted specifically to that purpose? So I journeyed to a summit where the wind never stops howling and snow falls in July.

My intention was to stay for only a season (the "not-so-good sledding" one, which most people call summer). Little did I know that for years to come I would live there and once almost die there.

Something in the wind gripped my imagination and refused to let go.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2000

    For everyone that looks to the sky...

    There seem to be more and more weather books hitting the stands these days. However, finding one that is a great mix of well crafted prose intertwined with the science of meteorology makes for a great read. From his perspective on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire where some of the world's worst weather is born, to the dynamics created the sun's core Eric does a very effective job of putting the weather puzzle together in a tightly written story. From the casual weather observer to the myriad of weather junkies around the world, this book offers everyone the ever looks up, both answers and questions still to ponder.

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