Rain

  • by Cynthia Barnett
  • Narrated by Christina Traister
  • 11 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 listeners 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Best

If you could sum up Rain in three words, what would they be?

One of the best books I have listen to. Both in writing and narrator voice,


What did you like best about this story?

They way she explained water throughout history and the importance and the fact we have always taken advantage of


What does Christina Traister bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I am not sure


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

As a treat at almost finishing the book she traveled to a rain forest that is know to be the wettest place on either.


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- Katrina

Mostly a cultural history

I love the idea of capturing the history of rain in a book. Barnett will show you how rain related to the burning of witches, the invention of umbrellas and raincoats, and how it affects poets and songwriters. She details how the devastating effects of too much or too little rain paved the way for charlatans, whose extortions were far more severe that I thought.

When I bought this book, I had hoped it would include a lot more about the scientific history of rain. Barnett began the book with how rain came to fill the crevices of Earth. I had hoped I would read more details about that as well as hear the delicious science behind flooding, the dustbowl, and other weather related phenomenon. I love the water cycle. It's magical. So, even though the title Rain: A Natural and Cultural History is taken, I really really hope someone writes a book called Rain: A Natural History that focuses more on the science behind rain, especially how it relates to ecology. There is a wonderful lecture series called the Ecological Planet by John Kricher that will make you fall in love with the science of rain.

That is not to say I didn't enjoy the cultural history in this book. It was great. But I needed more of the natural part to really love it.
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- serine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-21-2015
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio