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One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead by…
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One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead (original 2003; edition 2005)

by Clare Dudman

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1301092,561 (3.96)36
Member:avaland
Title:One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead
Authors:Clare Dudman
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Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:historical fiction,

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One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead by Clare Dudman (2003)

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I am sorry but i simply did not goet into this book. as a history of what happened it may or may not be accirate, however as a novel it failed for me, failed to hold my interest, mainly I failed to understand the main character
  jessicariddoch | Oct 28, 2013 |
I loved this book. First, the writing was beautiful when describing the terrifying and wonderful arctic ice, and the struggles of the scientists to conquer it. Second, the story of Alfred Wegener's life is fascinating. He was a German scientist in the early 1900s who made important contributions to ballooning, meteorology, climate, rain, and developed a theory of how craters were formed on the moon. He also was the first to put forth the theory of Continental Drift, which evolved into Plate Tectonics. He was an arctic explorer, spending several years on the glaciers of Greenland. The novel also describes his service in the army during World War I, and his family. ( )
  Pferdina | Sep 22, 2013 |

I'm usually not a great fan of US retitlings of UK books (think back to Christopher Priest's novel set in Hardy country, A Dream of Wessex, which in the US became The Perfect Lover), but in this instance I gave a cheer when I discovered on the copyright page that the original UK title had been Wegener's Jigsaw. Hellish emotive, wot?

To say this is a biographical novel about Alfred Wegener, the meteorologist/glaciologist who, in the early part of the 20th century, was the first to formulate and champion a coherent theory (or, really, hypothesis) of continental drift, would be accurate but somewhat misleading. Usually one expects a biographical novel to have somewhat the same structure as a biography, but Dudman has eschewed this approach to adopt one that's far more interesting and which gives the book an affect almost of magic realism. The novel starts with Wegener's death on the Greenland ice. What follow are countless smallish, roughly chronological sections narrated by Wegener himself seemingly as a representation of his-whole-life-flashed-before-him as he waits to die. Dudman/Wegener calls these items memory beads, and that seems as good a descriptive term as any. Jigsawed together in one's mind as one reads, they build up a picture of Wegener as a highly appealing, passionate personality; whether they succeed as a biographical account for the reader unfamiliar with the bare bones of Wegener's life is another matter, and one that I confess didn't occur to me -- so enchanted was I by Dudman's telling -- until afterwards.

A major additional joy is that Dudman names some of the now mainly forgotten scientists who, for reasons largely of hideboundedness (even though the complaint that Wegener could produce no plausible mechanism for drift was a fair one), so steadfastly rejected his hypothesis. Despite the historical reality that it wasn't until long after Wegener's death that these numbskulls -- or at least the surviving ones -- got their comeuppance, when the 1960s discovery of the phenomenon of seafloor spreading not only provided a mechanism for drift but (almost) dictated that the continents had to drift, still one feels that the naming of names here offers some kind of justice to the man's memory.

In short, if you want a ripping yarn (Gabriel Hunt and the Secret of the Earth's Plates?), look elsewhere; but, if you want an absorbing and for the most part beautifully written narrative that unveils a bit of science's history that's perhaps too often overlooked, this is the book for you. ( )
  JohnGrant1 | Aug 11, 2013 |
A beautiful and fascinating book about arctic exploration, this is a fictionalized bio of an actual scientist who was interested in many fields related to weather, the Arctic, plate tectonics, et al. It's also a thoughtful book on the process of science and thinking and experimentation, as well as being a wonderful narrative about adventure as well as family relations. ( )
  lxydis | May 11, 2013 |
FYI, this book is also under the (much better and more evocative, IMHO) title One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead!

Read more reviews there--it's a wonderful book. ( )
  lxydis | May 11, 2013 |
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Let me tell you about ice.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143034731, Paperback)

In this unforgettable debut novel Clare Dudman has imaginatively re-created the life of the German scientist Alfred Wegener, whose theory of continental drift—derided by his contemporaries—would eventually revolutionize our perception of the world. Wegener’s irresistible urge to discover the unknown takes him from the horrors of World War I’s trenches to several lengthy expeditions across the unexplored ice of Greenland, an extraordinary quest that—with the support of a remarkable woman—gives birth to a powerful idea worth fighting for. Distinguished by its evocation of the unforgiving beauty of the Arctic, this stunningly written tale of obsession and courage will thrill readers of scientific history and the best adventure writing.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:46 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A fictional biography of German meteorologist Alfred Wegener follows the groundbreaking scientist from his 1880 birth to his final Arctic exploration in 1930, discussing the offbeat scientific adventures and exploits that marked his life, from a record-breaking long-distance balloon flight in 1906, to his horrific experiences during World War I, to his struggle to defend his controversial theories. A haunting first novel based on the fascinating life of an Arctic explorer whose fearless pursuit of scientific discovery revolutionized our perception of the world. In his lifetime Alfred Wegener was a German meteorologist who was better known for his offbeat scientific adventures than for his now famous theory of continental drift. In this lushly imagined and beautifully written novel, Clare Dudman charts his life from his 1880 birth to his last daring Arctic exploration in 1930. Dudman vividly chronicles the key episodes that punctuated his life, such as his 1906 record-setting long-distance balloon flight; his several expeditions to Greenland; his passionate love for his wife; his investigations into meteorites, lunar craters, and the formation of raindrops; and his horrific experiences in the trenches of World War I. Dudman also tells of his struggle to defend his controversial theories, a struggle that forced him to leave all that he loved to make one final, fateful expedition to Greenland at the age of forty-nine. A passionate tale of obsession, endurance, courage, and love, this novel is a scintillating blend of science and history that is sure to appeal to readers of historical fiction and adventure narratives as well as to fans of Dava Sobel's successful histories.… (more)

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