The Melting World: A Journey Across America’s Vanishing Glaciers
Global warming usually seems to happen far away, but one catastrophic effect of climate change is underway right now in the Rocky Mountains. In The Melting World, Chris White travels to Montana to chronicle the work of Dan Fagre, a climate scientist and ecologist, whose work shows that alpine glaciers are vanishing rapidly close to home. For years, Fagre has monitored the ice sheets in Glacier National Park proving that they—and by extension all Rocky Mountain ice—will melt far faster than previously imagined. How long will the ice fields survive? What are the consequences on our environment? The Melting World chronicles the first extinction of a mountain ecosystem in what is expected to be a series of such global calamities as humanity faces the prospect of a world without alpine ice.
CHRISTOPHER WHITE has written several books, including Skipjack: The Story of America’s Last Sailing Oystermen, and written for National Geographic, Exploration, and other publications. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Praise for The Melting World: A Journey Across America’s Vanishing Glaciers…
“An act of witness to a disappearing world, and an implicit call to action to save what we can, this book is a great gift to us all!”—Bill McKibben, author Oil and Honey: The Making of an Unlikely Activist
“The Melting World is both a hymn of praise and a requiem for the passing beauty of alpine snowfields. In the tradition of John McPhee and Norman Maclean, Christopher White chronicles the men and women racing against climate change to understand the mysteries of the frozen world, even as it inexorably disappears from view. Rich in vivid detail and lovely prose, White’s gorgeous and heartbreaking book will appeal to adventurers and scientists and anyone else who cares for our beloved planet.”—McKay Jenkins, author of The White Death: Tragedy and Heroism in an Avalanche Zone
In Skipjack, Christopher White spends a pivotal year with three memorable captains as they battle man and nature to control the fate of their island villages and oyster fleet. Through these lively characters, White paints a vivid picture of life on a skip – jack, a wooden oystering sailboat as they dredge for oysters—a favorite staple of iconic American seafood cuisine for over a hundred years. But this last vestige of American sailing culture is rapidly dying. State officials have mismanaged the waters, putting sport above business, and modernization above tradition. These captains must set aside their rivalry to fight for their very livelihood. With so many obstacles, it is not certain the fleet will survive the season. Hinging on its success, the viability of the nation’s premiere estuary and the survival of a classic American town hang dangerously in the balance.
Praise for Skipjack: The Story of America’s Last Sailing Oystermen…
“[An] evocative portrait of the nation’s most beautiful and poignant vocational anachronism. It’s an action-packed tale, complete with waterborne grudge matches, on-deck shootouts, fierce winter storms and suspenseful escapes. To his great credit, White resists any temptation to romanticize his skipjackers as quaint rustics simply overtaken by a modern world. He knows better. He has lived with them, worked aboard with them and listened as they admitted that they were often their own worst enemies. But he’s just as clear-eyed when observing their virtues: loyalty and love of family, a relentless work ethic, stubborn independence and a cultural taproot to traditions of surpassing humanity. And he serves them all up for us on the half-shell.”–The Washington Post “Christopher White’s Skipjack is not only a powerful elegy for a great American fishery, it’s an act of defiance against all that has conspired to empty the dredges of these beautiful boats. White’s prose is like the oystermen he portrays: tough, lyrical, and soaked to the bone in the waters of Chesapeake Bay. I’ve still got a lump in my throat from its last page.”– Richard Adams Carey, Against the Tide: The Fate of New England Fishermen and the Philosopher Fish
“Christopher White’s Skipjack, which chronicles the Chesapeake life history and impending death of our nation’s last fishery under sail, is a colorful, comprehensive, and valuable piece of Americana” – Peter Matthiessen
“The world has almost run out of fish, as modern technology strips our oceans bare. Christopher White’s Skipjack is a compelling story about how the wisdom of the past can help us protect the future of our fisheries. If you savor seafood, White’s chronicle of the gritty life aboard America’s last sailboat fishing fleet is a tale you need to hear.” —Trevor Corson, The Secret Life of Lobsters and The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi
“Men who take their livings from the sea have their own language to reinforce kinship and keep strangers at bay. Only rarely is an outsider accepted into their inner circle, and then only when he knows how to listen and is willing to work. Even more rarely does such an adopted son capture the cadenced ebb and flow of watermen’s speech. Herman Melville did it for New England whalers: Christopher White has now done it for the oystermen of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Just as Melville documented something greater than a whale hunt, White’s account helps us understand how much all our lives will be diminished when the last oyster drudger sailed in from the Chesapeake… Skipjack is a masterpiece.” – George Reiger, author of Wanderer on My Native Shore
“Well written, and carefully researched … . Chris White’s brilliant use of the waterman’s vernacular and his intimate knowledge of multiple generations of watermen combine to make this an excellent treatise on a culture that is clearly disappearing.” —Gilbert M. Grosvenor, former editor and Chairman of National Geographic Society
This book has become the definitive field guide to the Chesapeake. Flora and fauna descriptions are arranged according to the Bay’s nine major habitats — from freshwater wetlands to saltwater marshes. Accordingly, readers can easily refer to the habitat in which they might be canoeing, for instance, and find the species that are common there. As a further aid in this process, the most important field marks of more than 500 species are shown in 350 superb pen-and-ink drawings, which make this benchmark work as visually appealing as it is useful.
Praise for Chesapeake Bay: Nature of the Estuary: A Field Guide
Necessary for your backpack when venturing into “bay country” as you will be pulling it out often to check on a marsh grass, bird, or insect. A first stop for identification and connecting with your “finds” and a bridge to specific field guides. – A. Campbell on May 16, 2013
This beautiful book is useful for those learning about Chesapeake Bay … or any estuaries. I found this book to be readable and easy to understand. – Alicia on February 2, 2013
I’ve lived near the Chesapeake Bay and on a bay estuary for most of my adult life. I thought I had a pretty decent knowledge of the bay and its tributary waters plants and animals – until I read this easily read fact filled well organized impressive book during my first year of work retirement. A great little book I wish I had discovered twenty years ago! – jodythepoet on September 11, 2012
“Chesapeake Bay – Nature of the Estuary: A Field Guide” by Christopher P. White.
This is how all field guides to natural areas should be written. It would be great to have a book like this for all our other “signature” eco-systems – the Great Lakes, the Prairie, the Everglades, the Gulf Coast, the Great Basin, the Appalachians etc., etc.
Even the reader with a merely casual interest in the science(s) of Ecology will be gratified by the common sense approach, clear writing and excellent organization of this book – not to mention the myriad interesting observations Mr. White presents. As a bonus, it turns the notoriously difficult and obtuse science of Botany into an understandable and eminently useful outline that virtually anyone can put to good use.
A definite High-5 for this one !!! – 5/0 on July 11, 2012
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife of The Chesapeake Bay