Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why the Wind Blows by Matthys Levy

Why the Wind Blows was the first book I received as a review copy when I started this blog and I have to apologize here for taking so long to get to it. This book is really interesting, although it reads more like a textbook than I had expected. I think, in fact, it may have been designed for use in a physical geography class - a purpose for which I think it would be well suited.

Levy gives a lot of explanation about how weather patterns are formed, as well as the history behind weather tracking. From Magellan to the Titanic, he covers a great deal of history and offers many stories to break up the scientific explanations for weather, which I found to be refreshing. He also describes how hurricanes and tornadoes are formed and gives in-depth graphics to help explain both. I think the best thing about this book is that there are so many graphics to help explain what the author is talking about. I'm not very science minded so the illustrations really helped me out.

The one thing I didn't like about this book was the sub-title "A history of weather and Global Warming." The "Global Warming" on the cover is large enough that I had focused on that thinking it would be the basis of the book, but really Global Warming isn't even addressed until the 9th chapter and then it's not really talked about in-depth until we get to Chapter 14. Somehow, when I signed on to read this I had thought it would be more of a journalistic book about global warming and its causes, but it turned out to be more scientific (but not in a bad way!). Just different than what I had expected, which is probably why it took me so long to finally sit down and read it.

Having taken a couple of physical geography and life science classes, I already knew a lot of the things covered in this book, but, as I said, this book would be ideal for a life science or physical geography class because of its easy-to-understand explanations, charts and illustrations.


Amanda said...

With the book's explanations, what did you come to the conclusion to? Is global warming real? Is it completely man-made or is it also cyclical? Just wondering!

Becca said...

He says normally it would be considered cyclical, but the numbers we see today are definitely a cause of man. He uses graphs to show the increase in human population, CO2 emissions and the crazy changes we're seeing today. You can see that it changed little by little in the past and then all of a sudden there's a HUGE spike that matches pretty well with our population increase/CO2 emissions.

Becca said...

He also offers solutions, which is rare in these type of books. I meant to put that in my review but I forgot.