Review by Choice Review
Journalist/mountaineer Jamail illustrates firsthand the devastation global warming wreaks on the planet, offering myriad examples from around the world. On the remote Alaskan Aleutian island of St. Paul, residents face the collapse of the fishing and whaling industries due to melting sea ice. The temperature in Barrow, Alaska--above the Arctic Circle--has warmed significantly in the last few decades, resulting in rapidly melting permafrost, heavier blizzards, damaged infrastructure, and seashore encroachment. Denali's (Mt. McKinley) glaciers are rapidly melting, as are the glaciers elsewhere in Alaska and throughout the world. It's not just colder climates that suffer the effects of ice melt. Ninety percent of the coral reefs in the Pacific have been decimated by warmer sea temperatures. The Florida Everglades are starting to sink, while major coastal cities face rising seas and saline intrusion into the water table. Fish and wildlife are disappearing at alarming rates. Jamail gives some very brutal and concrete examples of the real effects of climate change. The book offers no new insights or solutions for the problems of global warming, but is more a requiem for a dying Earth. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and general readers. --Claudene A. Sproles, University of Louisville
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by New York Times Review
Our current environmental crisis is often described in language that makes it hard to appreciate the transformations already underway and the role we played in them. For Jamail, "climate change" is too ambiguous a term; he prefers "anthropogenic climate disruption," which emphasizes human agency while also noting just how unusual it is for a single species to cause such havoc, making the earth uninhabitable for many. In "The End of Ice," Jamail, an avid mountaineer and former war reporter, visits a handful of different environments being impacted by anthropogenic climate disruption, or whatever you want to call it - from the heights of Denali to the heart of the Amazon - hoping to "bring home ... the urgency of our planetary crisis through firsthand accounts." He recalls his conversations with a wide cast of characters from coral ecologists in Guam to indigenous residents of Utqiagvik, the northernmost town in the United States. Each in his or her own right bears witness to the ways in which the places they study and depend upon are already coming undone. Jamail, and his adventurer's attraction to far-flung locations, helps hold this string of reporting trips together. Toward the end of the book he suggests that we must sit with our grief for the ever-diminishing planet; to understand how to proceed, we must acknowledge what we have lost and what we will continue to lose. Perhaps what brings him to this place of great mourning is his regular engagement with the "worst case scenarios" buried deep in the pages of the official reports. Too often climate coverage errs on the cautious side, suggesting that this or that may come to pass. "The End of Ice" illustrates with an almost overwhelming string of statistics that for many of the world's glaciers, coral reefs and ancient forests, the end is already here.
Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [July 21, 2019]
Review by Booklist Review
After traveling the world to places undergoing rapid and severe destruction of ecosystems due to human actions, Jamail adopted the term climate disruption as more accurate than climate change. Winner of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, Jamail covered the war in Iraq; then, as an ardent mountaineer witnessing the rapid erosion of glaciers in Alaska, he turned to environmental reporting. Understanding that only those intimate with nature fully perceive the significance of the warming of the atmosphere and oceans and the dire and cascading consequences, Jamail speaks with longtime residents and scientists in besieged regions from the Arctic to the Amazon to Pacific islands. Jamail visits endangered coral reefs, degraded forests, thawing permafrost, and the flooding streets of Miami. He precisely explains how the current decimation could bring down the entire miracle of existence as we have known it. Matching awe for the majestic intricacy and beauty of nature with exacting and alarming dispatches, Jamail calls on us to respect facts, honor life, and recognize that we are facing increasingly tragic disruptions and loss. Enlightening, heartbreaking, and necessary.--Donna Seaman Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Jamail (Beyond the Green Zone), a war correspondent and mountaineer, offers an unrelentingly depressing account of the current state of the environment. Time and again, Jamail asserts that all available scientific evidence shows that the damage humanity has done to the planet cannot be reversed, recounting near the start his realization that "we had defiled the biosphere and we were past the point of no return." His survey of various ecosystems, including the Alaskan glaciers, the Amazon basin, the Great Barrier Reef, and northern California's forests, leads him to the grim conclusion that "we are already facing mass extinction." Jamail has managed to achieve inner peace by accepting the inevitability of humanity's end, even as he grieves deeply, although he offers no basis for concluding that his calm response will be widespread. His message is not entirely consistent; he echoes an expert in palliative care that "the time to change our ways is long past," but also endorses Vaclav Havel's definition of hope as "the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out," suggesting some merit to changing policies. The hopelessness this book engenders makes its intended audience and scope of readership unclear. Agent: Anthony Arnove, Roam Agency. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A war journalist and mountaineering aficionado chronicles his global travels to witness the stakes of humanity's greatest battle: the destruction of our planet.Award-winning journalist Jamail (The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2009, etc.) began covering climate disruptionthe term he prefers over the more common "climate change"in 2010 and has since "published more than one hundred articles" on the subject. For his latest book, he traveled to the front lines of extreme shifts in habitat and ecology: Denali in Alaska, where glaciers are rapidly melting; the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, where increasingly horrific storms and "large-scale die-offs" decimate the local culture; the Rock Islands of Palau in the western Pacific ocean, where corals experience often fatal "bleaching"; and the Amazon, whose famous biodiversity is threatened by deforestation, warming temperatures, and various other human-caused effects. The book is assiduously researched, profoundly affecting, and filled with vivid evocations of the natural world. Jamail's deep love of nature blazes through his crisp, elegant prose, and he ably illuminates less-discussed aspects of climate disruption, like the Alexandrium toxin, a "marine dinoflagellate" responsible for the mass deaths of birds and fish, and white pine blister rust, "one of the single largest threats to trees in the continental United States." The constant assessment of Earth's grim status can be a tad repetitive, but perhaps that's the point, as Jamail infuses the book with a sense of reluctant futility. Near the end, he writes that he has surrendered his hope that "bludgeoning people with scientific reports about increasingly dire predictions of the future would wake them up about the planetary crisis we find ourselves in." Now, he grieves, which "is a way of honoring what we are losing."A passionate, emotional ode to the wonders of our dying planet and to those who, hopelessly or not, dedicate their lives to trying to save it. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.