Ice Ice Baby: Amy Brady in convo with Leslie VonHolten on the cool history of a hot commodity

You’ve tried going to the pool. You’ve tried ice cream. You’ve tried every brand of portable fan imaginable. This year, beat the heat with Ice. In this riveting book, journalist and historian Amy Brady looks at the unexpected and unexplored ways that ice has transformed a nation—from the foods Americans eat, to the sports they play, to the way they live today—while underscoring how precious this commodity is, especially in an age of climate change. Ice will not only take you through the history of why you order drinks “on the rocks” or go ice skating in the winter. It demonstrates the way ice acts as a critical technology for the future, used in cutting-edge cryotherapy breast-cancer treatments and new refrigerator technologies that may prove to be more efficient. Cool off at the Raven on July 6 at 7 p.m. as we welcome Amy Brady for a discussion and book signing, moderated by LFK environment and culture writer Leslie VonHolten.


About the Speakers

Amy Brady is the executive director of Orion magazine and coeditor of The World as We Knew It: Dispatches from a Changing Climate. Brady has made appearances on the BBC, NPR, and PBS. She holds a PhD in literature and American studies and has won writing and research awards from the National Science Foundation, the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, and the Library of Congress.

Headshot © Cate Barry Photography

Leslie VonHolten writes about the connections between land and culture. She focuses her work on prairie and grassland spaces, and her art columns and essays have been published or are forthcoming in The New Territory, Literary Landscapes, About Place Journal, Dark Mountain Project, and Lawrence.com, among other sites. Leslie has served as a board member for the Garden of Eden art environment in Lucas, Kansas; was a founding member of the Percolator Artspace in Lawrence, Kansas; and has been a book commentator for High Plains Public Radio in Garden City, Kansas, since 2015. She was honored with a Tallgrass Artist Residency in 2022.


About the Book

The unexpected and unexplored ways that ice has transformed a nation—from the foods Americans eat, to the sports they play, to the way they live today—and what its future might look like on a swiftly warming planet.

Ice is everywhere: in gas stations, in restaurants, in hospitals, in our homes. Americans think nothing of dropping a few ice cubes into tall glasses of tea to ward off the heat of a hot summer day. Most refrigerators owned by Americans feature automatic ice machines. Ice on-demand has so revolutionized modern life that it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always this way—and to overlook what aspects of society might just melt away as the planet warms.

In Ice, journalist and historian Amy Brady shares the strange and storied two-hundred-year-old history of ice in America: from the introduction of mixed drinks “on the rocks,” to the nation’s first-ever indoor ice rink, to how delicacies like ice creams and iced tea revolutionized our palates, to the ubiquitous ice machine in every motel across the US. But Ice doesn’t end in the past. Brady also explores the surprising present-day uses of ice in sports, medicine, and sustainable energy—including cutting-edge cryotherapy breast-cancer treatments and new refrigerator technologies that may prove to be more energy efficient—underscoring how precious this commodity is, especially in an age of climate change.


Event date: 
Thursday, July 6, 2023 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
Raven Book Store
809 Massachusetts Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
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Ice: From Mixed Drinks to Skating Rinks--a Cool History of a Hot Commodity By Amy Brady Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9780593422199
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - June 6th, 2023

The unexpected and unexplored ways that ice has transformed a nation—from the foods Americans eat, to the sports they play, to the way they live today—and what its future might look like on a swiftly warming planet.