by Richard Hamblyn - £14.95 Reaktion Books (2017)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781780237237 | ISBN 10: 1780237235
Clouds have been objects of delight and fascination throughout human history; their fleeting magnificence and endless variety have inspired scientists and daydreamers alike. Clouds and the ever-changing patterns they create have long symbolized the restlessness and unpredictability of nature. Life without clouds is not physically possible – alongside their rain-bearing function, clouds act as a finely tuned planetary thermostat – but in addition it would be mentally and spiritually barren, deprived of the inspiring, life-affirming thought-bubbles that drift continuously overhead: ‘the ultimate art gallery above’, as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote.
Richard Hamblyn explores the notable presence of clouds in literature and the arts (including music and sculpture) while outlining their growing scientific significance in the context of climate change. The book covers the history, science and art of clouds, including the controversial history of cloud modification. All the major cloud types are discussed and illustrated, including clouds on other planets, as well as the increasing number of man-made clouds that fill our changeable skies.
Comprehensive yet compact, cogent and beautifully illustrated, this is the ultimate guide to clouds: from Hamlet’s ‘cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel’ to the world of cloud computing today.
(Price & availability last checked: August 2017)