The unexpected and unexplored ways that ice has transformed a nation—from the foods Americans eat, to the sports they play, to the way they live today—and what its future might look like on a swiftly warming planet.
Ice is everywhere: in gas stations, in restaurants, in hospitals, in our homes. Americans think nothing of dropping a few ice cubes into tall glasses of tea to ward off the heat of a hot summer day. Most refrigerators owned by Americans feature automatic ice machines. Ice on-demand has so revolutionized modern life that it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always this way—and to overlook what aspects of society might just melt away as the planet warms.
In Ice, journalist and historian Amy Brady shares the strange and storied two-hundred-year-old history of ice in America: from the introduction of mixed drinks “on the rocks,” to the nation’s first-ever indoor ice rink, to how delicacies like ice creams and iced tea revolutionized our palates, to the ubiquitous ice machine in every motel across the US. But Ice doesn’t end in the past. Brady also explores the surprising present-day uses of ice in sports, medicine, and sustainable energy—including cutting-edge cryotherapy breast-cancer treatments and new refrigerator technologies that may prove to be more energy efficient—underscoring how precious this commodity is, especially in an age of climate change.
Amy Brady is the executive director of Orion magazine and coeditor of The World as We Knew It: Dispatches from a Changing Climate. Brady has made appearances on the BBC, NPR, and PBS. She holds a PhD in literature and American studies and has won writing and research awards from the National Science Foundation, the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, and the Library of Congress.
Jaime Green is the author of The Possibility of Life: Science, Imagination, and Our Quest for Kinship In the Cosmos. She is also series editor of The Best American Science and Nature Writing and a lecturer at Smith College. She lives in New Britain, Connecticut.
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