This is a massive book - big in size and big in content. It's over 300 pages and includes about 300 images. Hardback and jacketed, it's a major natural history title. It's a celebration of the most phenomenal landform in New Zealand - the Southern Alps - the backbone of the country. This book tells the stories of the Southern Alps - the geology, the weather, the glaciers, the rivers, the flora, the fauna, the Maori history and European history. Alison Ballance tells these stories in an incredibly imaginative and yet methodical way. For example she tells the story of a snowflake and how over time it becomes a glacier; or she takes a tussock plant and describes how it fits into the complex botanic community of the alps. The result is a very readable and accessible natural and human history that is also beautifully written - a ground breaking title in the New Zealand natural history genre. This book is also lovingly illustrated with many images both modern and historical - ranging from Arno Gasteiger's stunning photography through to botanical illustrations from the National Library.
Shortlisted for Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Environment Category 2008.