Ice: From Mixed Drinks to Skating Rinks—a Cool History of a Hot Commodity

Books on Tape. Jun. 2023. 7:51 hrs. ISBN 9780593741382. $76. HIST
Journalist and historian Brady (coeditor, The World as We Knew It: Dispatches from a Changing Climate) blends history, science, and cultural anecdotes, making a case for the significance that ice has had on human development. This well-researched and engaging micro-history delves into the unexpected ways in which a simple commodity has had a profound impact. The contents are a perfect balance of education and entertainment. The depth of Brady’s research is impressive, skating from ice harvesting to the technology that has made ice available on demand for drinks, medical uses, food storage, and sports. Jennifer Aquino’s narration suffers from somewhat awkward pacing, but she is clearly sold on Brady’s material, as evidenced by her enthusiastic reading. She skillfully navigates between historical insights, scientific explanations, and entertaining anecdotes. With capable narration and captivating content, this title will make listeners appreciate how seemingly insignificant things can profoundly shape the world.
VERDICT Despite occasional problems with pacing and pronunciation, narrator Aquino brings so much passion to her reading of this expertly researched book that listeners won’t want to miss a minute.
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