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Item #: BK4686B-1045
ICEMAN: UNCOVERING THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A PREHISTORIC MAN FOUND IN AN ALPINE GLACIER Brenda Fowler US Ed Ex Lib Hardcover 5 copies available
By Fowler, Brenda
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Detailed Product Description
New York, 2000, USA edition. 316 pages, photos. Hardcover with DJ. Ex Lib, VG-Fine condition. 

On a warm September day in 1991, two German hikers stumbled upon a frozen, intact body melting out of the remains of a glacier in the Tyrolean Alps. Over the next few days, as a parade of often irreverent visitors poked and prodded the mummy-like corpse, curious items began to emerge from the ice: an ax with a metal blade, a longbow, finely stitched leather clothing, and--most astonishing of all--boots stuffed with grass. But only after the corpse was recovered and taken for an autopsy to the medical examiner in Innsbruck, Austria, did a vigilant archaeologist recognize that this was no ordinary dead body.

Iceman is the story of the international scientific investigation launched to study the world's oldest naturally preserved human corpse and the astounding cache of prehistoric personal effects found with it. The dramatic narrative takes us from the day of the Iceman's discovery through eight years of scientific investigation, political intrigue, bizarre theories, and ravenous media coverage.

The product of more than one hundred interviews with researchers in Austria, Italy, and Germany, 
Iceman follows scientists into labs and archaeologists into the field as they search for clues to the life and times of a man who lived before the advent of writing and cities. Who was he? Why were parts of his equipment damaged and unfinished? Where was he going? How did he die?

Iceman is not merely a compendium of data but the story of the forces that produced and shaped them. At times, debates over who owned the Iceman and what should be done with him overshadowed the research. Brenda Fowler chronicles the scientists' squabbles and ego trips and the unexpected twists in the research, including the claim that the Iceman was a fraud and the mystery of his missing penis. Along the way, the authority of science is powerfully questioned and then, largely, reaffirmed in a surprise ending that has already led to a reexamination of the Iceman's final hours and his five millennia in the ice.

In 1991, a dead man was found in a glacier on the Italian side of the Tyrolean Alps. How could he have known, as he settled down for a very long winter's nap, that his discovery would unleash a circus of political, scientific, and journalistic shenanigans that would make and break careers and cause international tension? Science writer Brenda Fowler takes a peek at the bizarre odyssey of this incredibly well-preserved frozen corpse in Iceman, covering every step of his transition from Stone Age accident victim to celebrity specimen to museum piece. The cast of characters involved is large and colorful, including archaeologists, smalltime politicians, curators, writers, and even channelers claiming to speak for tzi, as he came to be known. Initially taken to Austria and studied there, he was brought back closer to where he was found in northern Italy after years of political and scientific wrangling, though evidence suggests he may have originally come from modern-day Switzerland. Beyond the battles between nationalistic and egotistical players, Iceman contains an absorbing examination of the scientific process at work: hypotheses announced and discarded, the accretion of new evidence, and the ever-narrowing range of explanations for the find. The story is far from over, as research continues even as the question of tzi's resting place is settled (temporarily?). With luck, we may soon learn as much about our recent ancestors as we recently learned about ourselves. --Rob Lightner
From Publishers Weekly
In September 1991, hikers in the Alps discovered a well-preserved frozen corpse; nearby lay a stone ax and swatches of leather and fur. The man turned out to have died in the early Bronze Age, making him an incalculable treasure for students of early human beings. Fowler, who has covered Central Europe for the New York Times, offers a brisk and easy-to-follow narrative, first of the great discovery, then of the personal and political struggles for control of the frozen body, which researchers eventually nicknamed ?tzi. Her tight and compelling account emphasizes the late-20th century people who acted, investigated and argued the science and law surrounding the man from the past. Fowler's journalistic experience serves her well as she introduces each of the characters: local archeologist Konrad Spindler, who first pronounced the corpse 4,000 years old; Reinhold Messner, "the best [mountain] climber who had ever lived"; museum curator Markus Egg; botanist Sigmar Bortenschlager ("a feisty strawberry blond"); and a few dozen others. Each gossipy controversy begot others; each scientific answer led to new questions. Should ?tzi be used to help the local economy, displaying him for tourists? Yes, said the government; no, cried the local priest. The scientists were split on the issue. Was ?tzi missing his genitalia? No (though they had "dried up like a leaf"); so how did the story that he had been castrated come to be circulated so widely? Archeological and present-day whodunits proceed in alternating steps throughout Fowler's attentive narrative; readers with any interest in early humans, in the politics of scientific discovery or in this region of Europe will want to dig in. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

A Note on Sources
Prologue - No Room in the Helicopter
1. The First to See It
2. A Difficult Recovery
3. A Great Moment for Science
4. Italy Is Watching
5. Evidence of Distress
6. The Mummy to Market
7. A Castrated Egyptian
8. Spindlers Story
9. Expanding Markets
10. A Proper Forefather
11. The Place He Came to Lie
Afterword
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index


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