The Heat Will Kill You First

Life and Death on a Scorched Planet

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By Jeff Goodell

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Most Anticipated by The Washington Post• New York Times bestselling journalist's "masterful, bracing" (David Wallace-Wells) investigation exposes "through stellar reporting, artful storytelling and fascinating scientific explanations" (Naomi Klein) an explosive new understanding of heat and the impact that rising temperatures will have on our lives and on our planet. "Entertaining and thoroughly researched," (Al Gore), it will completely change the way you see the world, and despite its urgent themes, is injected with "eternal optimism" (Michael Mann) on how to combat one of the most important issues of our time.  

 “When heat comes, it’s invisible. It doesn’t bend tree branches or blow hair across your face to let you know it’s arrived…. The sun feels like the barrel of a gun pointed at you.” 
 
The world is waking up to a new reality: wildfires are now seasonal in California, the Northeast is getting less and less snow each winter, and the ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctica are melting fast.  Heat is the first order threat that drives all other impacts of the climate crisis.  And as the temperature rises, it is revealing fault lines in our governments, our politics, our economy, and our values. The basic science is not complicated: Stop burning fossil fuels tomorrow, and the global temperature will stop rising tomorrow. Stop burning fossil fuels in 50 years, and the temperature will keep rising for 50 years, making parts of our planet virtually uninhabitable.  It’s up to us.  The hotter it gets, the deeper and wider our fault lines will open.  
 
The Heat Will Kill You First is about the extreme ways in which our planet is already changing. It is about why spring is coming a few weeks earlier and fall is coming a few weeks later and the impact that will have on everything from our food supply to disease outbreaks. It is about what will happen to our lives and our communities when typical summer days in Chicago or Boston go from 90° F to 110°F. A heatwave, Goodell explains, is a predatory event— one that culls out the most vulnerable people.  But that is changing. As heatwaves become more intense and more common, they will become more democratic.  
 
As an award-winning journalist who has been at the forefront of environmental journalism for decades, Goodell’s new book may be his most provocative yet, explaining how extreme heat will dramatically change the world as we know it.  Masterfully reported, mixing the latest scientific insight with on-the-ground storytelling, Jeff Goodell tackles the big questions and uncovers how extreme heat is a force beyond anything we have reckoned with before.
 

Genre:

  • “Entertaining and thoroughly researched, Jeff Goodell brings the subject of climate-driven extreme heat to life in his comprehensive look at heat’s substantial impact on humanity’s past, present, and future.”—Former Vice President Al Gore
  • “Through stellar reporting, artful storytelling and fascinating scientific explanations, Goodell brings to life heat as a world re-making force. In his skillful hands, the climbing temperature is revealed as an invisible, planetary animator that is already pushing landscapes, bodies, and social systems to their limits – and, unless we change course, it will take humanity to an oven-like climate that will feel more like a war than a home. This searing plea for a better, fairer and cooler future should be read by anyone with skin in the game – which is every single one of us.”—Naomi Klein, author of the New York Times bestselling This Changes Everything
  • "The climate crisis brings no greater threat than the prospect of deadly extreme heat. In The Heat Will Kill You First, Jeff Goodell brings a mix of fantastic storytelling, lucid science communication, and eternal optimism in detailing the profound threat we face with the climate crisis and what we can still do about it.”—Michael Mann, Presidential Distinguished Professor, University of Pennsylvania and author of The New Climate War
  • “It is already a new world, hotter than ever before in human history and getting rapidly hotter still. The Heat Will Kill You First is a masterful, bracing, vivid portrait of the future we now know will be shaped, like clay, by that heat—a godlike force, as Goodell writes, governing all life conducted under its profound and brutal reign.” —David Wallace-Wells, author of The New York Times bestselling The Uninhabitable Earth
  • “This is a scary book.  It humanizes global warming by telling amazing stories of individuals already affected by it, making very clear the danger we are putting ourselves in.  We all have a cognitive map in our head that includes a near future, which is sketchier than our map of the present, being made of our hopes and fears.  This book will sharpen that sketch in electrifying ways.  You won’t see the world the same way after reading it.” —Kim Stanley Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of The High Sierra and The Ministry for the Future
  • "If you have ever sweated through a heatwave and wondered how much worse things are going to get as temperatures continue to rise around the planet, then Jeff Goodell's The Heat Will Kill You First is just the book for you. Meticulously researched yet thoroughly readable, this is at once a portrait of a heat-disrupted world and a primer for how to prepare for it."—Amitav Ghosh, bestselling author of The Nutmeg’s Curse and The Great Derangement
  •  “As the planet warms, all our assumptions are going to be upended. Jeff Goodell asks us to imagine the impact on our minds and bodies, our communities and economies. The Heat Will Kill You First is essential reading for anyone who cares about the future.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Sixth Extinction
  • "[Goodell] provides an intimate look at the effects of our planet's warming on individual lives...another stark, crucial reminder that we are running out of time to save humankind."—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
  • "Once you read this book, you may never see a hot summer day the same way again.  Jeff Goodell gives heat names, faces, stories, and emotions that you will find hard to forget."—Andrea Dutton, MacArthur Fellow and Professor of Geology, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • “With his trademark blend of meticulous research, vivid storytelling, and unflinching honesty, Goodell exposes the devastating toll that extreme heat is already taking on communities around the world, and the inspiring efforts of scientists, activists, and everyday people who are working tirelessly to find solutions. Urgent, compelling, and deeply informative, The Heat Will Kill You First is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of our planet…I couldn’t put it down.”—Eleni Myrivili, Global Chief Heat Officer, UN-Habitat

On Sale
Jul 11, 2023
Page Count
400 pages
ISBN-13
9780316497572

Jeff Goodell

About the Author

Jeff Goodell is a New York Times bestselling of author of seven books, including The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, which was picked as a New York Times Critics' Top Book of 2017, as well as one of Washington Post's 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction in 2017.  Goodell's previous books include Sunnyvale, a memoir about growing up in Silicon Valley, which was a New York Times Notable Book, and Big Coal: the Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future.  He is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow and a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, where he has covered climate change for more than a decade.

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