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Weather matters : an American cultural history since 1900 / Bernard Mergen.

By: Mergen, Bernard.
Material type: TextTextSeries: Culture America: Publisher: Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c2008Description: ix, 397 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9780700616114 (cloth : alk. paper); 070061611X (cloth : alk. paper).Subject(s): United States -- Climate -- Social aspects -- History | Climate and civilization -- History | Climatology -- Social aspects -- History | Weather -- Social aspects -- History | Human beings -- Effect of environment on -- United States -- HistoryDDC classification: 551.60973 Other classification: RU 10429
Contents:
Talking about weather -- Managing weather -- Seeing weather -- Transcribing weather -- Suffering weather -- Conclusion.
Review: "Bernard Mergen's new book illuminates our inevitable obsession with weather - as both physical reality and evocative metaphor - in all of its myriad forms, focusing on the ways in which it is perceived, feared, embraced, managed, and even marketed. From the roaring winds atop Mount Washington to the reflective calm of the poet's lair, he takes a long-overdue look at public response to weather in art, literature, and the media. In the process, he reveals the cross-pollination of ideas and perceptions about weather across many fields, including science, government, education, and consumer culture." "Rich in detail and anecdote, Weather Matters is filled with eccentric characters, quirky facts, and vividly drawn events. Mergen elaborates on the curious question of the "butterfly effect," tracing the notion to a 1918 suggestion that a grasshopper in Idaho could cause a devastating storm in New York City. He chronicles the history of the U.S. Weather Bureau and the American Meteorological Society and their struggles for credibility, as well as the rise of private meteorology and weather modification - including the military's flirtation with manipulating weather as a weapon. And he recounts an eight-day trip with storm chasers, a gripping tale of weather at its fiercest that shows scientists putting their lives at stake in the pursuit of data."--BOOK JACKET.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
QC983 .M43 2008 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001970540

Includes bibliographical references (p. 379-383) and index.

Talking about weather -- Managing weather -- Seeing weather -- Transcribing weather -- Suffering weather -- Conclusion.

"Bernard Mergen's new book illuminates our inevitable obsession with weather - as both physical reality and evocative metaphor - in all of its myriad forms, focusing on the ways in which it is perceived, feared, embraced, managed, and even marketed. From the roaring winds atop Mount Washington to the reflective calm of the poet's lair, he takes a long-overdue look at public response to weather in art, literature, and the media. In the process, he reveals the cross-pollination of ideas and perceptions about weather across many fields, including science, government, education, and consumer culture." "Rich in detail and anecdote, Weather Matters is filled with eccentric characters, quirky facts, and vividly drawn events. Mergen elaborates on the curious question of the "butterfly effect," tracing the notion to a 1918 suggestion that a grasshopper in Idaho could cause a devastating storm in New York City. He chronicles the history of the U.S. Weather Bureau and the American Meteorological Society and their struggles for credibility, as well as the rise of private meteorology and weather modification - including the military's flirtation with manipulating weather as a weapon. And he recounts an eight-day trip with storm chasers, a gripping tale of weather at its fiercest that shows scientists putting their lives at stake in the pursuit of data."--BOOK JACKET.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Mergen (American studies, emeritus, George Washington Univ.; Snow in America) has written an engaging account on a subject we all complain about but can't change: the weather. He takes an original approach by expanding on the development of meteorology and institutional histories of the U.S. Weather Bureau, American Meteorological Society, and the Weather Channel. He also discusses how air and clouds have been studied with instruments such as the barometer and radar and depicted in paintings, photographs, and other artistic and cultural media, then goes on to examine the treatment of weather in American novels and poetry. The book concludes by assessing how people cope with the impact of weather, including natural disasters, and the author's own experiences with storm chasers out West. Merger draws on a wide array of sources to produce this fascinating study of a timeless human obsession. Recommended for all public and academic collections.--Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ., Parkersburg (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Weather is a shared experience, although its extreme events are usually localized. Mergen (emer., American studies, George Washington Univ.) recounts how weather perfuses the cultural issues of regional and national identity, unease with chaos, and the desire for order. He sets the history of the professionalism of meteorology into research fronts and organizational politics of the 20th century. Using such disparate examples as Boy Scout merit badges and The Weather Channel, the author explores ways in which American culture has internalized the desire to manage weather. There are separate long discussions of weather in poetry, novels, and the arts. Mergen notes that in the new "disaster culture," Americans now perceive extreme weather as part of life's uncertainties instead of acts of God. His approach incorporates a mix of scholarly and anecdotal material, all extensively documented. He personalizes his arguments and sometimes floods his readers with unnecessary detail. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections. L. S. Zipp formerly, State University of New York College at Geneseo

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