Bursting at the seams with icy facts and trivia.



A lively history of ice in America.

Environmental historian Brady, executive director of Orion magazine, takes a wide-ranging, comprehensive tour of places and people associated with our frosty obsession. Frederic Tudor’s idea of shipping blocks of ice from post–Revolutionary War Massachusetts to Martinique and selling them didn’t go well. It went better in Cuba and New Orleans, where ice and liquor paired well, and Tudor’s ice-cutters and icehouses were a big success. Florida doctor John Gorrie’s experiments using ice on yellow fever victims led to his groundbreaking invention of a hand-cranked ice-making machine. Their use in hospitals and shipping was transformative. With the advent of cars, people could stop at their local ice dock, and icemen and their wagons, as popular as milkmen, were popping up all over in popular culture. In the 1930s, General Electric began manufacturing affordable refrigerators. A visit to Mount Vernon taught Brady about Washington’s slaves harvesting ice on the Potomac for his well, which fed his love of ice cream. In 1818, Philadelphia free Black man Augustus Jackson’s ice cream was a sensation. Ice cream peddlers became commonplace, and the sundae, iced tea, and Good Humor ice cream bar were born, as were electric air conditioners and cocktail bars like Manhattan’s influential Milk and Honey. The author also visited Bill Covitz, a master ice sculptor, to watch as a laser cut designs from massive blocks. In 1887, St. Paul, Minnesota, made a big splash with its 14-story ice castle, constructed of 30,000 blocks of ice. “Mechanically created ice could transform ice sports as we know them,” Brady notes, as she uncovers the indoor worlds of ice skating, hockey, speed skating, and curling. In 1949, Frank Zamboni unveiled his eponymous machine, which could resurface an entire rink in 15 minutes. The author also investigates why ice is so slippery, and she concludes her spirited book with a look at the dire effects of cold and making ice on an endangered planet.

Bursting at the seams with icy facts and trivia.

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9780593422199

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.


A master storyteller’s character-driven account of a storied year in the American Revolution.

Against world systems, economic determinist and other external-cause schools of historical thought, McCullough (John Adams, 2001, etc.) has an old-fashioned fondness for the great- (and not-so-great) man tradition, which may not have much explanatory power but almost always yields better-written books. McCullough opens with a courteous nod to the customary villain in the story of American independence, George III, who turns out to be a pleasant and artistically inclined fellow who relied on poor advice; his Westmoreland, for instance, was a British general named Grant who boasted that with 5,000 soldiers he “could march from one end of the American continent to the other.” Other British officers agitated for peace, even as George wondered why Americans would not understand that to be a British subject was to be free by definition. Against these men stood arrayed a rebel army that was, at the least, unimpressive; McCullough observes that New Englanders, for instance, considered washing clothes to be women’s work and so wore filthy clothes until they rotted, with the result that Burgoyne and company had a point in thinking the Continentals a bunch of ragamuffins. The Americans’ military fortunes were none too good for much of 1776, the year of the Declaration; at the slowly unfolding battle for control over New York, George Washington was moved to despair at the sight of sometimes drunk soldiers running from the enemy and of their officers “who, instead of attending to their duty, had stood gazing like bumpkins” at the spectacle. For a man such as Washington, to be a laughingstock was the supreme insult, but the British were driven by other motives than to irritate the general—not least of them reluctance to give up a rich, fertile and beautiful land that, McCullough notes, was providing the world’s highest standard of living in 1776.

Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7432-2671-2

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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