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Item #: BK367-765
WIND: HOW THE FLOW OF AIR HAS SHAPED LIFE, MYTH, AND THE LAND Jan DeBlieu 1998 1st ed New Hardcover DJ
By DeBlieu, Jan
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Boston, 1998, 1st edition. 294 pp. New Hardcover with Dust Jacket

From tornadoes to slick rock, wind has had an enormous effect on man and the earth: it has helped to create religions, discover continents, and destroy empires.

DeBlieu, who writes for a living, has a poetic touch that adds a special grace to her prose when she turns to a subject in nature. The prose and the venturesome research behind it won the 1998 hardcover version of this book the John Burroughs medal for distinguished natural history writing; this is the paperback edition. "The wind, the wind," DeBlieu writes, "few other forces have so universally shaped the diverse terrains and waters of the earth or the plants and animals scattered through them. Few other phenomena have exerted such profound influence on the history and psyche of humankind." She explains lucidly the physics of wind and describes her trips to experience the wind - including the time she had herself strapped into a hang glider, towed to 2,000 feet and turned loose.

Jan DeBlieu lives on North Carolina's Outer Banks, where 'wind is culture and heritage... Wind toughens us, moves mountains of sand as we watch, makes it difficult to sleepwalk through life.' She always knows how fast the wind is blowing, and from what direction. She knows which winds are good for fishermen, and which are good for surfers. In Wind, DeBlieu teaches what she knows, and more. Watching the wind ruffle the water, turn tree branches into whips, or capsize a sailboat, she uses her powers of observation and lyrical writing to beautifully communicate what she sees. From the windy myths, religions, and creation stories of cultures worldwide, to the hardcore science of air movements and meteorology, to the stories of people whose lives are forever changed by hurricanes, typhoons, and tornadoes, Wind covers vast territory.

'I'd rather look at Grandma's drawers than see a backing wind,' say folks on the eastern seaboard of the United States. Someone who is following an unlikely dream is said to be 'chasing the wind.' And if we suspect a big change is coming, we say, 'something is in the wind.' We name the winds: sirocco, Santa Ana, williwaw, chinook, monsoon. DeBlieu traces the ways wind shapes our reality, the earth's land and water, plants and animals, exploring everything in dramatic, immediate, and lucid prose.

'It begins with a subtle stirring caused by sunlight falling on the vapors that swaddle the earth. It is fueled by extremes--the stifling warmth of the tropics, the bitter chill of the poles. Temperature changes set the system in motion: hot air drifts upward and, as it cools, slowly descends.... Gradually the vapors begin to swirl as if trapped in a simmering cauldron. Air molecules are caught by suction and sent flying.... As the world spins, it brushes them to one side but does not slow them. Tumbling together, the particles of air become a huge, unstoppable current.'

And so the winds are born. Read Wind and you'll never again take an exhilarating kite-flying day for grante


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