The nature of ice and snow, Johannes Kepler, war, water and weather modification -- all as it centers around one tiny village: Margaretville, NY. Harper's ran my essay on snow, rain, the city's reservoir system and how one Cold War weapon called on Kepler and changed my village... The rain was silver. It was meant to stop a drought. It brought flooding, and extended from these hills later to Laos and Vietnam, and it was developed in part by Kurt Vonnegut's brother.
Entries in Notting Hill Editions (4)
Yes, that is what the reviewer at Shiny New Books, said about my essay "The Rainmakers Flood." One of the editors of the British site Shiny New Books, also said other fine things like this: "But a brief outline of the plot of this essay doesn’t do it justice. It’s a charmingly interwined rope of connected ideas – snow, mud, rain, damage in its various forms, including war, the seductive beauty of science, the recalcitrant and yet unexpectedly fragile environment."
So not only am I on the longlist (see below) but I am one of six finalists. Which is very, very thrilling. And this is what they have to say about my essay "The Rainmaker's Flood":
The Rainmaker’s Flood – Jennifer Kabat
A fascinating account of human attempts to manipulate weather. Kabat explores the botched history of weather-making, from Kepler’s theories to the use of acid rain by the US military as a weapon of war in Vietnam. A compelling scientific investigation into dust, snow, ice, weather and war.
‘ “What’s worse,” one State Department official said that July, “dropping bombs or rain?”. The answer, I know, might be obvious, but when that rain included lead, and lead led to lead poisoning and potentially poisoned everything that water fed: rice, fish, plants, people….’
You can read more here on their site... The winner is announced October 3rd and all the finalists are published together in Notting Hill Editions' stylish cloth-bound hardbacks...
THE LONGLIST FOR the biennial William Hazlitt Essay Prize was just announced... and I am on it. The prize is £20,000 given for a single essay. The long list is long, but also on it are such luminaries as Ben Lerner, Charlotte Higgins, Tim Parks and Hal Foster. I am on the list for my essay "The Rainmakers' Flood," about the nature of ice and snow, Johannes Kepler, war, water and weather modification – also the brothers Vonnegut Kurt and Bernard and how all of these things wind up causing a flood here in the Western Catskills in 1950 thanks to New York City. The essay is one chapter of the book I'm working on Growing Up Modern.