Martin's Must Reads: 'The Ice at the End of the World'

Nov 26, 2019

“On the old maps of the Arctic—the ones drawn by hand, where geographical features were left blank in places where the world was still unexplored—an area along Greenland’s southeastern coast was sometimes marked as inaccessible “by reason of floating and fixed mountains of ice.”

I’m Mark Martin, with "Martin’s Must Reads" and so begins Jon Gertner’s book The Ice At The End Of The World.  Part history of exploration and part science book, The Ice At the End of the World tells the story of Greenland, the world’s largest island,-- three times the size of Texas, home to only 56,000 people, and  a land 80% covered by ice.  Only Antarctica has more ice. Greenland has become ground zero in the study of glacial melting, rising ocean levels and global warming.

The book begins with stories of exploration, brave and strong men seeking adventure and fame.  Personal glory was their main goal.  Missions of glory were replaced by serious efforts for scientific understanding.   Modern and cutting edge science, computers and satellites replaced dog sleds and bravery in the efforts to understand Greenland.  Mr. Gertner does a splendid job in helping the reader understand the science and history behind the warnings of glacial melting and global warming.

The Ice At The End Of The World by Jon Gertner is more than a history lesson. He challenges the reader to not only understand global warming, but do something about it. “If more knowledge, and more data, and more satellites, and more computer projections couldn’t make us act quickly enough about the polar regions and the risks of the future, then what would?”