The Secret Life of Snow

The science and the stories behind nature's greatest wonder

by Giles Whittell

  • Published: 14 Nov 2019
  • Price: £9.99
  • Extent: 320p
  • ISBN: 9781780724072
  • Short Books territories:
    World ex USA, Can

**The Financial Times‘ Travel Book of the Year 2018**

How many snowflakes does it take to build a snowman?
Where is the snowiest place on Earth?
When will the last snowflake fall?

Snow has a lot in common with religion.

It comes from heaven. It changes everything. It creates an alternative reality and brings on irrational behaviour in humans. But unlike most religions, snow has never had a bible, until now.

Giles Whittell, a passionate snow enthusiast, takes the reader on a quest through centuries and continents to reveal the wonders of snow. Along the way he uncovers the mysteries of snow crystal morphology, why avalanches happen, how snow saved a British prime minister’s life, and the terrifying truth about the opening ceremony of the 1960 winter Olympics.

The Secret Life of Snow is the next best thing to a white Christmas, an anthropology and travelogue for everyone from ski addicts to the millions of people who have never even seen it.

“A wonderful, wide-ranging book, all powder, no slush... Put this book on your Christmas list and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”
Laura Freeman, The Times
“Whittell... whisks us back and forth from the vast to the minuscule, addressing the miracle of the formation of a snowflake with the scientific precision that almost counts as poetry.”
Ysenda Maxtone Graham, The Spectator
“Giles Whittell shares an engaging love of the white stuff … [with an] urgent subtext: that by 2040 it might be a thing of the past.”
Tom Robbins, Financial Times

About Giles Whittell

Giles Whittell is chief leader writer for The Times, and was previously the paper's correspondent in Los Angeles, Moscow and Washington. He has written five previous books - Bridge of Spies, Spitfire Women of World War II, Extreme Continental, Central Asia and Lambada County. He lives with his wife, Karen Stirgwolt, and three sons in south London.