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From flying squirrels to grizzly bears, and from torpid turtles to insects with antifreeze, the animal kingdom relies on some staggering evolutionary innovations to survive winter. Unlike their human counterparts, who must alter the environment to accommodate physical limitations, animals are adaptable to an amazing range of conditions.

Examining everything from food sources in the extremely barren winter land-scape to the chemical composition that allows certain creatures to survive, Heinrich's Winter World awakens the largely undiscovered mysteries by which nature sustains herself through winter's harsh, cruel exigencies.

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061757631
List price: $8.99
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The first book by Bernd Heinrich I read, it was also one that I devoured and enjoyed immensely. One thing that comes across strongly in the book is how serious Heinrich is about his research - among other "crazy" things, he collects and microwaves dead birds to see how quickly they lose body heat. That takes devotion. But coupled with this seriousness about science is the ability to convey what's he's found out in a way that is accessible and interesting to the average reader, and that's what makes him such a great author.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Bernd Heinrich isn't a purist. When he takes off to live in the frozen Maine woods for the winter, he might chop wood for heat and cooking but drives into town for a bit of relief every now and again. So reading him is reading a balanced man which is one reason I like his books so much.

The main reason though is that these books go into such extreme detail, the absolute minutae of the natural life and explain it in well-written prose and his own pen & ink drawings. His world is one where evolution is beautiful and following the development of the animal life and their adaptions that dovetail into the plants, the weather that year and the seasons overall is wondrous. Something beautiful. He doesn't see a difference between us and the animals, we are all one and go to make this great humming planet of life, Gaia, the earth.

*Actually he's not quite the balanced man, apart from being a professor of biology he's was also a champion ultra-marathoner, holder of the American records for running both the 156 miles in 24 hours race and the 100 miles one.

I wouldn't think his books appeal to everyone, you have to like reading non-fiction, nature books in particular, but if you do, then I can't think of any writer more enjoyable than Bernd Heinrich.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I wanted to like it. I enjoyed some bits, but most often I felt like it was either too much surface info or not enough. There are beautiful sketches inside of various animals, which is nice. But about halfway through I gave up, due to being overloaded too often, not given enough info when he finally did peak my interest, and the jumbled overall feeling of disorganization. I think some good editing would have made this readable.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Lovely, meditative reading on how animals survive the north woods' winters. Includes information on dormancy, torpor, hibernation, "antifreeze" in blood, etc. Animals discussed include weasels/ermine, kinglets, chipmunks, moths, bees, and many others. My favorite section involved the goings-on of mice living in the sub-nivean (under-snow) zone. This is an Intriguing, well-written book that brings a much-needed chill to any sweltering summer day.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I enjoy Bernd Heinrich's writing. He's a dedicated naturalist and his interest in wildlife is contagious. I do think however, that sometimes he writes a little too much like the scientist that he is. Winter World, like it's companion volume, Summer World, tends to read a bit too technically sometimes for the layreader, and focus frequently jumps from one subject to another within the space of a paragraph.I do appreciate his inherent inquisitiveness and the straightforward way he goes about devining information to answer the questions that plague him. His hand drawn wildlife images are charming and enhance the accessibility of his book. All in all, Winter World is a beneficial read--you'll definitely learn and begin to look at nature closely, in a way you never have before. I think it can best be digested in small segments at a time, though.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I picked this book up as I was buried in 3 feet of snow and the question of cold weather survival was towards the front of my mind. However, until i stopped to think about it the severity of the situation faced by so many species had not come home to me. But Heinrich does an excellent job of setting forth the different challenges for different animals and then showcasing the multitude of adaptations that make survival possible. He has researched quite extensively and this research is then joined with his personal observations, which he has documented quite precisely. The study of animals in such extreme circumstances is quite difficult and this is mirrored in the lack of research in many areas. The author often presents his own theories in the lack of definitive research and explains his thought process without claiming to have solved the puzzle.The adaptations touched on in this book are extraordinary. I feel that our society has lost so of its appreciation of the awe inspiring quality of nature. As we grow more sheltered from the natural world we have become fascinated with technological advances. Meanwhile, nature offers some of the most wondrous and captivating advances in all of history. To imagine an organism that can let its blood freeze and then bring itself back to life is amazing. To think of a frog that is able to survive for 5 months without breathing is mind-boggling. This complexity and creativity of the natural world need to be shared if there is ever to be a serious movement to sustain diversity on this planet.There are times when the writing is fairly scientific but I view that as a necessity to understand such complex organisms. In no way is this language beyond the comprehension of a lay reader. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to respark that passion for the wonder of nature.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

The first book by Bernd Heinrich I read, it was also one that I devoured and enjoyed immensely. One thing that comes across strongly in the book is how serious Heinrich is about his research - among other "crazy" things, he collects and microwaves dead birds to see how quickly they lose body heat. That takes devotion. But coupled with this seriousness about science is the ability to convey what's he's found out in a way that is accessible and interesting to the average reader, and that's what makes him such a great author.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Bernd Heinrich isn't a purist. When he takes off to live in the frozen Maine woods for the winter, he might chop wood for heat and cooking but drives into town for a bit of relief every now and again. So reading him is reading a balanced man which is one reason I like his books so much.

The main reason though is that these books go into such extreme detail, the absolute minutae of the natural life and explain it in well-written prose and his own pen & ink drawings. His world is one where evolution is beautiful and following the development of the animal life and their adaptions that dovetail into the plants, the weather that year and the seasons overall is wondrous. Something beautiful. He doesn't see a difference between us and the animals, we are all one and go to make this great humming planet of life, Gaia, the earth.

*Actually he's not quite the balanced man, apart from being a professor of biology he's was also a champion ultra-marathoner, holder of the American records for running both the 156 miles in 24 hours race and the 100 miles one.

I wouldn't think his books appeal to everyone, you have to like reading non-fiction, nature books in particular, but if you do, then I can't think of any writer more enjoyable than Bernd Heinrich.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I wanted to like it. I enjoyed some bits, but most often I felt like it was either too much surface info or not enough. There are beautiful sketches inside of various animals, which is nice. But about halfway through I gave up, due to being overloaded too often, not given enough info when he finally did peak my interest, and the jumbled overall feeling of disorganization. I think some good editing would have made this readable.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Lovely, meditative reading on how animals survive the north woods' winters. Includes information on dormancy, torpor, hibernation, "antifreeze" in blood, etc. Animals discussed include weasels/ermine, kinglets, chipmunks, moths, bees, and many others. My favorite section involved the goings-on of mice living in the sub-nivean (under-snow) zone. This is an Intriguing, well-written book that brings a much-needed chill to any sweltering summer day.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I enjoy Bernd Heinrich's writing. He's a dedicated naturalist and his interest in wildlife is contagious. I do think however, that sometimes he writes a little too much like the scientist that he is. Winter World, like it's companion volume, Summer World, tends to read a bit too technically sometimes for the layreader, and focus frequently jumps from one subject to another within the space of a paragraph.I do appreciate his inherent inquisitiveness and the straightforward way he goes about devining information to answer the questions that plague him. His hand drawn wildlife images are charming and enhance the accessibility of his book. All in all, Winter World is a beneficial read--you'll definitely learn and begin to look at nature closely, in a way you never have before. I think it can best be digested in small segments at a time, though.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I picked this book up as I was buried in 3 feet of snow and the question of cold weather survival was towards the front of my mind. However, until i stopped to think about it the severity of the situation faced by so many species had not come home to me. But Heinrich does an excellent job of setting forth the different challenges for different animals and then showcasing the multitude of adaptations that make survival possible. He has researched quite extensively and this research is then joined with his personal observations, which he has documented quite precisely. The study of animals in such extreme circumstances is quite difficult and this is mirrored in the lack of research in many areas. The author often presents his own theories in the lack of definitive research and explains his thought process without claiming to have solved the puzzle.The adaptations touched on in this book are extraordinary. I feel that our society has lost so of its appreciation of the awe inspiring quality of nature. As we grow more sheltered from the natural world we have become fascinated with technological advances. Meanwhile, nature offers some of the most wondrous and captivating advances in all of history. To imagine an organism that can let its blood freeze and then bring itself back to life is amazing. To think of a frog that is able to survive for 5 months without breathing is mind-boggling. This complexity and creativity of the natural world need to be shared if there is ever to be a serious movement to sustain diversity on this planet.There are times when the writing is fairly scientific but I view that as a necessity to understand such complex organisms. In no way is this language beyond the comprehension of a lay reader. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to respark that passion for the wonder of nature.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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