A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice

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Product Details
$17.99  $16.73
Bellevue Literary Press
Publish Date
4.9 X 0.6 X 7.4 inches | 0.5 pounds

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About the Author
William E. Glassley (July 1, 1947 - March 19, 2023) was a geologist at the University of California, Davis and a researcher at Aarhus University, Denmark, focusing on the evolution of continents and the processes that energize them. He was the author of over seventy research articles and a textbook on geothermal energy. A Wilder Time: Notes from a Geologist at the Edge of the Greenland Ice, his first book for a general audience, received the John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Natural History Book and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, among other honors.

John Burroughs Medal Winner
New Mexico-Arizona Book Award Winner
Kirkus Reviews "Best Book of the Year" selection
Scientific American "Recommended Book" selection
Three-time San Francisco Chronicle "Top Shelf" selection
Bookish "Must-Read Book" & "Hottest Release" selection
Phi Beta Kappa Society "Reading List" selection

"A richly literary account. . . . Anchored by deep reflection and scientific knowledge, A Wilder Time is a portrait of an ancient, nearly untrammeled world that holds the secrets of our planet's deepest past, even as it accelerates into our rapidly changing future. The book bears the literary, scientific, philosophic, and poetic qualities of a nature-writing classic, the rarest mixture of beauty and scholarship, told with the deftest touch." --John Burroughs Medal judges' citation

"The dramatic, austere west coast of Greenland is the setting of A Wilder Time. . . . The geological pursuits [are] punctuated by a thrilling encounter with a peregrine falcon; the terribly painful regimen of bathing in an icy-cold stream (the discomfort exacerbated by a breeze strong enough to keep away the dense clouds of mosquitos); sampling lichen, which Glassley found reminiscent of 'a simple white sauce and semolina pasta'; and a telling of his irregular path to science. . . . This engaging book's more rigorously science-oriented epilogue, including some earth-shattering detail on [a] singed-hair rock that Glassley found, is a treat for geology buffs." --Pasatiempo

"Glassley ponders the nature of perception and the human mind, describes the dramatic physical features of Greenland's makeup and recounts the thrilling adventures of his extended visits there." --Scientific American

"Builds a case for the necessity of wild places, both as respite from the noise and clutter of modern life and for their inherent values." --Anchorage Daily News

"Transport[s] readers across the world and deep into the past, while suggesting a way forward into the future. For budding naturalists, armchair geologists, and anyone who loves a good expedition, this is an ideal read." --Bookish

"Amazing. A Wilder Time is a book for those who love nature and have that longing desire to learn the unknown, all hidden along the walls of the fjords of Greenland." --North of Oxford

"Glassley eloquently evokes a place where land feathers into Arctic sea, ice floes glide by on mirror-smooth tongues of clear, frigid water and silence reigns. . . . This story offers perspectives on deep time to boggle minds. . . . Glassley's vivid impressions of East Greenland attempt what few scientist-writers try: to explore beyond the comfort zone of his field." --Nature

"Mesmerizing. . . . [Glassley] is a thoroughly accessible guide whose wonder at the landscape that surrounds him is infectious." --Washington Independent Review of Books

"Straddles the line effortlessly between poetic and scientific. . . . Glassley's ability to weave science into a compelling narrative is impressive. His propensity for beautiful prose that boils Greenland down into strikingly visceral snapshots is camera-like. What really pushes A Wilder Time into the upper echelons of nature books is its higher-reaching aims, using this location and journey to explore time, self, and the human relationship to nature." --Glassworks Magazine

"Writing with the same poetic precision, artistry, and soulful receptivity as Gretel Ehrlich and Barry Lopez, with the added impact of his rigorous scientist-in-the-field expertise, Glassley is spellbinding as he chronicles his exhilarating adventures." --Booklist (starred review)

"Profound and moving. . . . A superb tool for a better understanding of the natural world and why real science matters." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Poetic, enthusiastic. . . . Combining the strengths of travel writing and lyrical memoir, Glassley translates his own 'incandescent experience of place' into a conservation message: 'We must share and celebrate the wild so that it might be saved.'" --Foreword Reviews (starred review)

"Thoughtful. . . . Evincing humility in the midst of the great 'unshaped wild, ' Glassley exudes a palpable and infectious sense of wonder." --Publishers Weekly

"A poetic, metaphysical and philosophical treatise on the wildness of life on earth. . . . [Glassley's] enthusiasm for geology is palpable. His love of the wild is tangible, and his way with words beautiful." --Shelf Awareness for Readers

"A Wilder Time is nature writing at its informative and inspirational best and unreservedly recommended." --Midwest Book Review

"While conveying the geological hypotheses, techniques of data collection, and adventures of his expeditions to Greenland with his two Danish colleagues, William E. Glassley also brings startling sensory precision to his descriptions. The velvety feeling of moss, the taste of lichen, the alternating rhythms of terror and fluidity in schools of fish through which a predatory sculpin cruises--such experiences bring what might have seemed a stark world of rock and ice alive. This delicacy of perception is the vehicle through which not only the scientific quest but also the profound mystery of our living Earth saturates this memorable book." --John Elder, coeditor of The Norton Book of Nature Writing and author of Picking Up the Flute

"Glassley exhibits an uncanny ability to put us in the midst of Greenland's vast silence, where he takes us deep into the planet's soul. It is an important and well-told adventure that opens us to life's grand expanse and begs us to follow in spite of the brevity of our existence." --John Francis, author of Planetwalker and The Ragged Edge of Silence

"A Wilder Time is a wonderful mix of science and poetry. It delves into the kind of spiritual effect that wilderness has on those privileged to work in it and how it changes the way we experience and understand our surroundings and our lives. The science, including the geological controversy at the heart of the book, is lucidly explained, and readers will be absorbed by the story Glassley tells as well as his many vividly described encounters with nature. Next time someone asks me why I am a geologist, I will just hand them this book." --William L. Griffin, professor of geology at Macquarie University

"While conducting research probing deep time and the origin of continents, Glassley discovered a further source of fascination: the Arctic wilderness of Greenland. In A Wilder Time, he shares his encounters with unvarnished nature still free--for now--from the corruptions and constructs of human settlement. With openness, clarity, and a keen eye for detail, he weaves adventure, research, astonished awe, and thoughtful reflection into an absorbing account of his sojourns." --Martha Hickman Hild, author of Geology of Newfoundland: Field Guide

"Very few people have spent as much time as Glassley in such deep wilderness. So it would behoove us to pay attention even if he had not brought back such a fascinating, lovely, and useful set of observations. This is a remarkable book." --Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Oil and Honey

"In this extraordinary narrative, Glassley, a geologist, describes his intimate relationship with Greenland's ancient rocks in such a fashion that the reader who knows nothing about geology is hooked; that reader feels like he's not only been transported to the rockribbed coast of West Greenland, but is also bent down and studying its rocks right along with Glassley. At the same time, the book reminds us of the degree to which climate change is damaging the planet. . . . Urgently recommended!" --Lawrence Millman, author of Last Places and At the End of the World

"As geologists, we may be rational scientists, but expeditions to remote places touch something deep in us that moves us to also be poets. Glassley has turned his experiences in Greenland into searingly beautiful descriptions of a wild landscape and the ways in which that landscape moves and changes him. Every sentence is evocative, connoting curiosity, awe, and respect in equal measure. A Wilder Time is a paean on the importance of wilderness to the human spirit and a saddening reminder of what we lose when we divorce ourselves from contact with wild places. Glassley's voice will stay with me the way the works of Loren Eiseley, Edward Abbey, Rachel Carson, and Aldo Leopold have stayed with me over the decades." --Jane Selverstone, professor emerita in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico