During the long twentieth century, explorers went in unprecedented numbers to the hottest, coldest, and highest points on the globe. Taking us from the Himalayas to Antarctica and beyond, Higher and Colder presents the first history of extreme physiology, the study of the human body at its physical limits. Each chapter explores a seminal question in the history of science, while also showing how the apparently exotic locations and experiments contributed to broader political and social shifts in twentieth-century scientific thinking.
Unlike most books on modern biomedicine, Higher and Colder focuses on fieldwork, expeditions, and exploration, and in doing so provides a welcome alternative to laboratory-dominated accounts of the history of modern life sciences. Although this is a book about two male dominated practices--science and exploration--it recovers the stories of women's contributions, sometimes accidentally, and sometimes deliberately, erased.