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Authors of the Storm: Meteorologists and the Culture of Prediction

By: Gary Alan Fine

280 pages, 3 halftones, 1 map

University of Chicago Press

Hardback | Jul 2007 | #165262 | ISBN-13: 9780226249520
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £28.50 $35/€32 approx

About this book

Whether it is used as an icebreaker in conversation or as the subject of serious inquiry, "the weather" is one of the few subjects that everyone talks about. And though we recognize the faces that bring us the weather on television, how government meteorologists and forecasters go about their jobs is rarely scrutinized. Given recent weather-related disasters, it's time we find out more. In Authors of the Storm, Gary Alan Fine offers an inside look at how meteorologists and forecasters predict the weather.

Based on field observation and interviews at the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma, the National Weather Service in Washington, D.C., and a handful of midwestern outlets, Fine finds a supremely hard-working, insular clique of professionals who often refer to themselves as a "band of brothers." In Fine's skilled hands, we learn their lingo, how they "read" weather conditions, how forecasts are written, and, of course, how those messages are conveyed to the public. Weather forecasts, he shows, are often shaped as much by social and cultural factors inside local offices as they are by approaching cumulus clouds. By opening up this unique world to us, Authors of the Storm offers a valuable and fascinating glimpse of a crucial profession.

Authors of the Storm represents the work of a craftsman at the peak of his powers. Gary Alan Fine's book conveys in often amazing detail the work life of weather forecasters, laying out the patterns of their days and nights, the range of dilemmas they face, and the underlying organizational and political structures and tensions that shape their forecasts. This is a completely original book. - Daniel Chambliss, Hamilton College"

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Gary Alan Fine is professor of sociology at Northwestern University and the author of numerous books, including Everyday Genius: Self-Taught Art and the Culture of Authenticity; With the Boys: Little League Baseball and Preadolescent Culture; and Shared Fantasy: Role-Playing Games as Social Worlds, all published by the University of Chicago Press.

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