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Download Rain: A Natural and Cultural History Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Rain: A Natural and Cultural History Audiobook, by Cynthia Barnett Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Cynthia Barnett Narrator: Christina Traister Publisher: Brilliance Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2015 ISBN: 9781501224676
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A natural history of rain, told through a lyrical blend of science, cultural history, and human drama

It is elemental, mysterious, precious, destructive. It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of all the world's water. Yet this is the first audiobook to tell the story of rain.

Cynthia Barnett's Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of colored rains—with the human story of our attempts to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster," Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume.

Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is an audiobook for everyone who has ever experienced it.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Rain is a lovely, lyrical, deeply informative book. It will change the way you look at gray skies, and sunny ones, too.”

    Elizabeth Kolbert, New York Times bestselling author of The Sixth Extinction

  • “Barnett has given us a landmark work of environmental history. She brilliantly illuminates the essential weather conditions that allow our blue-marble earth to exist. From now on I’ll think about raindrops differently. Rain is a triumph.”

    Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of The Wilderness Warrior

  • “Transporting…An elemental biography, Rain wanders widely through time and space, packed with intriguing stories…At times playful and at times grand, Barnett…is especially good at making the large and distant close and personals.”


  • “Mesmerizing and powerful history…Abundant details, spiced with irreverence and humor, are what make this book so delicious. What elevates it and makes it important is Barnett’s exploration of humanity’s attempts throughout history to prevail over the elements.”


  • “Through her approachable and engaging writing, Barnett tells this eclectic story by combining science and history with humor, anecdotes, poetry, and personal travel adventures…Barnett captivates the reader through her unique way of finding a human face to describe historical climate and weather events.”


  • “A multifaceted examination of the science, the art, the technology and even the smell of rain throughout history…Highlights the severity of some of our environmental problems with knowledge, humor, urgency, and hope.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Barnett’s engaging book seeks as much to charm as to inform listeners. Christina Traister’s narration is generally clear, and her lighthearted tone matches Barnett’s prose.”


  • “Rain—the thing the weatherman frowns about—is one of the planet’s great pulses, as this marvelous book makes clear. Read it now, recalling the rainstorms we grew up with and anticipating the harsh new rainfall that’s coming our way on a warming globe.”

    Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth

  • A National Book Award Longlist Selection
  • A Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015 for Nonfiction
  • A 2016 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
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About the Author

Cynthia Barnett is an award-winning environmental journalist who has reported on water from the Suwannee River to Singapore. She is the author of two previous books, Mirage and Blue Revolution, a Boston Globe top 10 science book of 2011. She lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband and children.

About the Narrator

Christina Traister, Earphones Award–winning narrator, has worked nationally as a professional actor for over fifteen years with a career focusing on classical theater. She teaches acting, voice, and stage combat in the Department of Theatre at Michigan State University.