WHEN WINTER WAS STILL WINTER – The History of a Season
Germany: Galiani Berlin/Kiepenheuer & Witsch (German title: Als die Winter noch Winter waren - Geschichte einer Jahreszeit). USA/Canada/English World Rights: Greystone Books (translated by Jane Billinghurst), China: ThinKingdom Media Group
"As climate change alters our seasons forever, this book may well become a memento of a season that will not be defined by snow and cold for much longer. Brunner's utterly engaging writing style sets this cultural history apart from other books and makes it readable for a wide audience. Packed with interesting observations and quotable anecdotes, this book reflects its author's depth of knowledge, while at the same time being hard to put down. ... An outstanding cultural history of winter."
New Books in German
The horror of eternal ice, the beauty of untouched landscapes, the longing for cold purity, the birth of mountaineering and winter sports - Bernd Brunner has written the first cultural history of winter
During the last two centuries, our relationship to winter has undergone a fundamental change. In the past, the weather dictated our life - but today we are largely independent of it. 2015 was the warmest year on record. Bernd Brunner embarks on a search for the stories and moods inspired by winter in different regions and times, going back as far as the Ice Age. The phenomena he encounters along the way are fascinating, but so are the people - like the American Wilson A. Bentley, a fan of snow, who devoted thousands of hours to painstakingly creating 5,381 photographs of snowflakes. Werner Herzog closely studied the snow as he hiked from Munich to Paris, making extensive notes about it in his diary.
But the dark side of snow also gets its due: the sense of disorientation brought on by winter wastelands, along with snow blindness, landslides, and the treacherous warmth of snow-enclosed spaces that keeps hibernating animals alive but can spell death for humans. Filled with insights from the history of perception and culture, Brunner's book is an exciting and knowledgeable account of the mythology of winter.
"Brunner considers both winter's terrors and it's fascination. Discovering that poets like Goethe and Klopstock were ice-skating enthusiasts is just one part of what makes reading Bernd Brunner's new book so enjoyable. His winter's tales are edifying as well, because even as he explores the past he looks to a present and future marked by climate change."
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"The title sounds nostalgic. However, Brunner warns against glorifying the winters of the past, which were periods of immense hardship. Without fresh food, people were forced to rely on what they had stored. They were barely able to go outside... Brunner elegantly skates through myriad aspects of the cold time of year. He never lectures - instead, he tells stories, and they are always entertaining."
"With this book, Brunner presents a successful cultural history of winter. It captures the fascination of "real" winter and goes beyond Christmas and winter sports to explore what makes the season special."
Spektrum der Wissenschaft
"Brunner is a trickster. I consider him a member of the "joyful wisdom" club, who observe everything with a satiric eye and an ironic undertone, plus an affinity for the slightly absurd and bizarre. He pulled this off in his book on the art of lying down - quite wonderfully - and essentially does the same here... A book that makes you smarter!"
Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg, Berlin-Brandenburg Broadcasting (Radio)
"A compendium of hundreds of surprising winter's tales."
Norddeutscher Rundfunk, North German Broadcasting (Radio)
"Brunner follows an associative path through remote snowy landscapes, links anecdotes from different parts of the world, detours into art history, and touches upon scientific discoveries - passing it all on to us in an informative but highly readable approach. The book can be understood as a wonderful invitation to get to know the many facets of winter... An artfully composed essay."
Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, Central German Broadcasting, nonfiction book of the week (Radio)
"Brunner's perspective on cultural phenomena is masterful."
Interview in Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (In German)
Excerpt and roundtable interview in Die Zeit (in German)
Essay in Die Welt (in German)
Brigitte (women's magazine)