Reads like an extended new yorker article (or maybe a notch less), marred by some slight repetition of fifth grade science. Streever is a clear sensory-oriented individual, characterizing cold well, but giving rise, as some reviewers have noted, as what may come off as "condescending" prose. ("I am cold. I am wearing a sweater. The sweater somewhat blocks the cold." <-- is this the author being moronic or assuming moronity in the reader?<br/>
What would be a definite 3 star at 15 bucks is accepted as public service at the 2.99 price point. Striver misses: 1974 Kashmir war (coldest war ever), more insight into Barbarossa, the infamous Nazi cold experiments of the concentration camps, cold war (hah) research into cold and space flight, and his coverage of arctic exploration is selective.
hOWEVER streever's just folks style does lead to readable prose, the ultimate redemption of this work. To while away a four train ride, perfect. To keep as the ultimate reference on cold, far short.
2 July 2013 -- reiterate 3 stars; fourth star if under $5. little brown published