From the National Book Award finalist and visionary writer of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, a Tale of Love and Fallout comes a dazzling, beautifully illustrated look at the transformative and alluring power of weather.
From the National Book Award finalist Lauren Redniss, author of Radioactive, comes a dazzling fusion of storytelling, visual art, and reportage that grapples with weather in all its dimensions: its danger and its beauty, why it happens and what it means.
WINNER OF THE PEN/E. O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, KIRKUS REVIEWS, AND SHELF AWARENESS
Weather is the very air we breathe—it shapes our daily lives and alters the course of history. In Thunder & Lightning,
Lauren Redniss tells the story of weather and humankind through the ages.
This wide-ranging work roams from the driest desert on earth to a frigid island in the Arctic, from the Biblical flood to the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Redniss visits the headquarters of the National Weather Service, recounts top-secret rainmaking operations during the Vietnam War, and examines the economic impact of disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Drawing on extensive research and countless interviews, she examines our own day and age, from our most personal decisions—Do I need an umbrella today?
—to the awesome challenges we face with global climate change.
Redniss produced each element of Thunder & Lightning
: the text, the artwork, the covers, and every page in between. She created many of the images using the antiquated printmaking technique copper plate photogravure etching. She even designed the book’s typeface.
The result is a book unlike any other: a spellbinding combination of storytelling, art, and science. Praise for Thunder & Lightning
“[An] aesthetically charged and deeply researched account . . . a wild rainstorm of a book, pelting the reader with ideas and inspiration.”—Nature
“A gorgeous and illuminating illustrated study of weather in all its tempestuous variety . . . Redniss’s combo of fact, folklore, and vibrant etched copperplate prints enthralls.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Eerily beautiful . . . Contains plenty of scientific explanation (including more than a few nods toward global warming), but also far-flung personal stories that illuminate the beauty, wonder and chaos inherent in the elements.”—The New York Times
“Magical . . . Redniss has . . . shown us how human beings live with nature—fighting, coexisting, taming, predicting via leech barometer and radar and intuition.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[A] twenty-first-century genius . . . Redniss is inventing a new literary genre. . . . The reader willing to put herself fully in Redniss’s hands will be rewarded with a delicious feeling of being enveloped by a phenomenon that eclipses the chiming trivialities of daily life.”—Elle
“Lends a graphic-novel-like allure to some of nature’s most curious paradoxes.”—Vogue
“Redniss is one of the most creative science writers of our time—her combination of beautiful artwork, reporting, and poetic prose brings science to life in ways that words alone simply cannot.”—Rebecca Skloot
“Redniss combines her own dual punch of expressive art and impressive erudition to give an entirely new take on all that happens above our heads. This is an illuminated book that is also an illuminating one.”—Adam Gopnik
“A strange and wonderful thing, the work of a first-class mind that refuses to submit to any categories or precedent.”—Dave Eggers
“Beautiful and totally original.”—Elizabeth Kolbert