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Publisher's Summary

The animal kingdom relies on staggering evolutionary innovations to survive winter. Unlike their human counterparts, who alter the environment to accommodate physical limitations, most animals are adapted to an amazing range of conditions.

In Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival, biologist, illustrator, and award-winning author Bernd Heinrich explores his local woods, where he delights in the seemingly infinite feats of animal inventiveness he discovers there. Because winter drastically affects the most elemental component of all life---water---radical changes in a creature's physiology and behavior must take place to match the demands of the environment. Some creatures survive by developing antifreeze; others must remain in constant motion to maintain their high body temperatures. Even if animals can avoid freezing to death, they must still manage to find food in a time of scarcity or store if from a time of plenty. Infused by the author's inexhaustible enchantment with nature, Winter World awakens the wonders and mysteries by which nature sustains herself through winter's harsh, cruel exigencies.

©2003 Bernd Heinrich (P)2009 Tantor

What listeners say about Winter World

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Fascinating Exploration

What a wonderful winter read. I loved the methodical and precise approach to the subject of how a variety of creatures are built to survive the extremes of winter. The author explores the subject in great detail providing a concise understanding of the complicated processes of hibernation.

To me this book is an excellent way to experience and understand nature and the workings of the natural world around us from a true master. I have read and listened to this title several times and always find something new to catch my interest. This book was beautifully written and nicely narrated. Recommended.

24 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So cool

If you could sum up Winter World in three words, what would they be?

Animals are amazing

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely

Any additional comments?

If you like nature and have always wondered about the durability of animals in the wintertime this book is absolutely mesmerizing. I can't wait to listen to Bernds other works. Incredible insights based on the author's observations. Make me want to get back into natural studies.

1 person found this helpful

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EYE-OPENING TRUE STORIES WONDERFULLY TOLD

My first attempt to listen did not go well. I was put off by the heavy science and chemistry mentioned at the beginning. I wanted to hear how the little creatures hide from the snow, wind, rain and cold -- not a bleeping chemistry lesson! Seriously, this book is non-fiction and requires something of the listener. When I finally settled down to listen, after the first big snow here in Tahoe, the listening was wonderful! I'm involved in wildlife rehab, after all. I have a collection of bird figurines -- some Lalique -- from my mom and grandmother. One day I wondered if either of them knew much about real birds. I have childhood memories of Mom pointing to cedar waxwings outside our window in Southern California. At the wildlife center I put eye-droppers of green glop in the gaping mouths of tiny birds, playing mom without knowing anything much at all! For shame! Now Prof. Heinrich's book has helped me get a booted foot into the door of this interesting study. He talks a lot about the winsome kinglets, and my bird guide says they live in the Tahoe area, so that's a start.

The author is a sweet man. Nothing offends my vegan sensibilities. He apologizes for killing a few birds in order to investigate their stomach contents. Evidently this was a study no one else had yet done. Or not done well. We get glimpses of his life and lifestyle, the frequent walks in the woods and his note-taking, checking up on all the life. The section on honey bees and their poop and venturing out of a hive in very cold weather because they need to poop -- pretty neat! A bit more than I thought I wanted to know, but this is an important time to understand other forms of life as never before! Bears are my special interest, and that chapter only made me ask why bears can hibernate and wake in the spring all ready to run and climb and do their lives, whereas astronauts and old ladies who knit must get exercise or waste away. The 7 hibernating bears here do get up, walk around, even play a bit, and then back to cuddle in the corner. Amazing!

Heinrich's writing style is not quite poetic, but very nice. It flows smoothly, including measurements and statistics, but remaining quite human at the same time. I can't imagine someone faulting this book for not including this or that other animal or aspect of winter survival. Heinrich has given us a full dose of what he has seen and what excites his admiration. The narrator does a fine job. Lovely! A for-sure re-re-listen.

3 people found this helpful

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Prose which enlightens and informs

I first read this book about eight years ago, and though it is still on my shelf I did not hesitate to purchase the audio version. While this is highly informative regarding wildlife and nature, this is also such a lovely example of well done prose that I find when I need inspiration for writing or want to clear my head and think better this book does it.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good, but not quite as expected

The book gives a lot of interesting information. It is well presented. It's just not what I was expecting. Rather than sticking with a straight "scientific" style, the author included a lot of personal anecdotes. They were all relevant to the discussion, and it was quite enjoyable. All in all, the book was a personal journey towards scientific knowledge, rather than a dry recollection of facts.

2 people found this helpful

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  • AD
  • 04-26-21

Wow!

Full of facts and stories about how animals survive during winter! I'm so amazed!

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Better read than listened to

I have been reading this book and tried listening to it, but find I would rather go back to reading it. The pacing is best when done at one's one pace, I find.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting and yet, boring.

Living in western Canada, I get more than enough of winter. I am constantly amazed at how animals can survive in an environment that is openly hostile to me as a human. I thought this book would provide insight into the magic behind the curtain that keeps everything from farm yard animals to deer, birds and even amphibians from dying of frostbite. In short, it did provide details on a variety of creatures and how they survive so I guess I got what I paid for.

Along with the details I also got a heaping helping of evolutionary theory. I didn't find that surprising or offensive but in multiple cases I found these theories to be overtly lacking in explanatory power. I just can't get my mind around irreducibly complex systems such as bee hives, evolving, even in ideal climates, let alone in the brutality of winter. Certainly there were anecdotes of variation within a species which I found plausible and even interesting but to blindly write off an intelligent designer behind what is obviously not accidental I found to be intellectually weak and disingenuous.

The narrator was adequate to the task but unless you are an uber nature geek, this isn't really a barn burner of a book. I think three stars is about all anyone verbalizing this into audio is all that could ever be expected.

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Great Nature

Heinrich is an incredible translator of what goes on in the natural world for those of us primarily stuck in the work a day world.

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Listen and See the World Anew!

Bernd Heinrich has no living equal in his ability to convey the joys of becoming intimate with the natural world. He has a child's open wonder and curiosity combined with the mind and experience of a brilliant scientist. With his compellingly constructed real-life stories, Bernd will draw you into a world that is better than magic--it's real, available to you, and you'll learn how to access it just by listening and being entertained. Start now and see the world anew!