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After the Ice Age: The Return of Life to Glaciated North America [Paperback]

E. C. Pielou
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 1 1992 0226668126 978-0226668123 1
The fascinating story of how a harsh terrain that resembled modern Antarctica has been transformed gradually into the forests, grasslands, and wetlands we know today.

"One of the best scientific books published in the last ten years."—Ottowa Journal

"A valuable new synthesis of facts and ideas about climate, geography, and life during the past 20,000 years. More important, the book conveys an intimate appreciation of the rich variety of nature through time."—S. David Webb,Science

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Pielou explains the natural history of the last 20,000 years, showing how the end of the Ice Age affected North America.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Pielou, a well-known ecologist and author of the The World of Northern Evergreens ( LJ 4/1/88), tells the story of the melting of the glacial ice, the resulting formation of features such as the Great Lakes, and the movement of plants and animals in response to these changes. This nicely written narrative weaves together information from several scientific fields, providing the reader with the big picture. A good book for the layperson, it should appeal to those who enjoyed R. Dale Guthrie's Frozen Fauna of the Mammoth Steppe (Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1990). Recommended especially for libraries in Canada and the northern United States, areas affected most by the great ice sheets.
- Joseph Hannibal, Cleveland Mu seum of Natural History
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Great Popular Science Books Nov. 10 2003
This book is an account of the patterns, in space and time, by which plants, animals, and people populated North America after the most recent glaciation, and the climatic and topographical changes that created these patterns. That makes for a much smaller subject than we sometimes see handled in popular science writing; you may doubt whether it could possibly be "great." But the restraint in Pielou's ambitions allow her space to treat her subject in reasonable detail without assuming too much knowledge in the reader, and without oversimplifying technical debates. This last point deserves emphasis: I have called this a popular book, but the fairness with which Pielou describes competing theories could be studied with profit by many specialists.
In summary, Pielou's book is a marvel of clear, accurate, and concise writing, as well as a pleasure to read. In it's description of the constant change in the earth's environment, and the extinction of organisms and species as a result of that change, there is considerable food for thought. There are very few books indeed about which you can say all that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in the last 20 years March 9 2002
Shazam!! This book may be the most fascinating work I have ever read. It opened my eyes to so many new things, such as a map of glaciated Quebec 7,000 years ago, vanished proglacial lakes as big as Alberta and 800 miles long, the overkill explanation for the the disappearance of North American megafauna, the whys of the Channeled Scablands, etc., etc. It has extraordinary passages on the changing of the courses of major rivers, the return of biota to formerly glaciated regions, the spread of fish species on the North American continent, and contains very realistic pencil drawings of various ice age animals, especially the short-faced bear. The maps alone make the book worth a five star rating. I had seen articles and read books on many of these topics previously, but Professor's Pielou's easily readable, expressive prose integrates all of these concepts as a seamless whole in a peerless manner. If you are at all interested in the Ice Ages, caution: this book can easily make you into a passionate devotee. A musthave-mustread-mustkeep at the head of the bookshelf treatise. A pity five stars is the maximum rating. I'd have gone higher.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent overview Dec 14 2004
This was an introduction for me into ice age ecology and I really enjoyed it. Not too technical for a guy with a science background, but deep enough to engage me. It provided many fascinating insights into the dynamic relationship between climate and ecology, opening up a new perspective for me. Makes my backcountry trips that much richer while I ponder glaciated peaks.
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This is a marvelous book. I confess that when I first heard that Professor Pielou had written another book my heart sank, as I have found some of her earlier work beyond me (my Statistics professor in Grad school told us straight that "nobody understands Pielou, but they'll be very impressed to see herbook on your shelf."). Have no fear! This is a highly readable highly informative summary of a critical phase in the ecological history of Nort America. Pielou brings up interesting questions, provides tantalizing hints, presents elegant arguments, and gives clear and forthright explanations. Beautifully illustrated, easy to read, a must for every advanced undergrad or first year graduate student interested in the field.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on the end of the ice ages Dec 8 2000
I am not a geologist, just a glacier climber. I found this book well writing and detailed, but not beyond a laypersons grasp. Pielou does an excellent job in picturing North American during and after the iceage. The book includes information on flora and animals, as well as origins of North America's indigenous people. It made me view areas I hike and climb in a whole new light! I could not put this book down and it is one of the rare books that I missed reading when I finished!
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