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“A fascinating look into the strange and sometimes unbelievable history of hypothermic medicine. Jaekl weaves together a story that is part history lesson and part science thriller. This is truly a must-read for any fan of science and science fiction!” —Douglas Talk, MD/MPH, chief medical consultant, SpaceWorks Inc., Human Torpor Project   The meaning of the word “hypothermi “A fascinating look into the strange and sometimes unbelievable history of hypothermic medicine. Jaekl weaves together a story that is part history lesson and part science thriller. This is truly a must-read for any fan of science and science fiction!” —Douglas Talk, MD/MPH, chief medical consultant, SpaceWorks Inc., Human Torpor Project   The meaning of the word “hypothermia” has Greek origins and roughly translates to “less heat.” Its symptoms can be deadly—shivering, followed by confusion, irrationality, and even the illusion of feeling hot. But hypothermia has another side—it can be therapeutic.   In Out Cold, science writer Phil Jaekl chronicles the underappreciated story of human innovation with cold, from Ancient Egypt, where it was used to treat skin irritations, to eighteenth-century London, where scientists used it in their first explorations of suspended animation. Throughout history, physicians have used cold to innovate life extension, enable distant space missions, and explore consciousness.   Hypothermia may still conjure macabre images, like the bodies littering Mt. Everest and disembodied heads in cryo-freezers, but the reality is that modern science has invented numerous new life-saving cooling techniques based on what we’ve learned over the centuries. And Out Cold reveals a surprisingly warm future for this chilling state.


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“A fascinating look into the strange and sometimes unbelievable history of hypothermic medicine. Jaekl weaves together a story that is part history lesson and part science thriller. This is truly a must-read for any fan of science and science fiction!” —Douglas Talk, MD/MPH, chief medical consultant, SpaceWorks Inc., Human Torpor Project   The meaning of the word “hypothermi “A fascinating look into the strange and sometimes unbelievable history of hypothermic medicine. Jaekl weaves together a story that is part history lesson and part science thriller. This is truly a must-read for any fan of science and science fiction!” —Douglas Talk, MD/MPH, chief medical consultant, SpaceWorks Inc., Human Torpor Project   The meaning of the word “hypothermia” has Greek origins and roughly translates to “less heat.” Its symptoms can be deadly—shivering, followed by confusion, irrationality, and even the illusion of feeling hot. But hypothermia has another side—it can be therapeutic.   In Out Cold, science writer Phil Jaekl chronicles the underappreciated story of human innovation with cold, from Ancient Egypt, where it was used to treat skin irritations, to eighteenth-century London, where scientists used it in their first explorations of suspended animation. Throughout history, physicians have used cold to innovate life extension, enable distant space missions, and explore consciousness.   Hypothermia may still conjure macabre images, like the bodies littering Mt. Everest and disembodied heads in cryo-freezers, but the reality is that modern science has invented numerous new life-saving cooling techniques based on what we’ve learned over the centuries. And Out Cold reveals a surprisingly warm future for this chilling state.

35 review for Out Cold: A Chilling Descent into the Macabre, Controversial, Lifesaving History of Hypothermia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    What do you get when you cross a neuroscientist and journalist? You get book that will knock you Out Cold with a fascinating, albeit weird, journey though the science behind hypothermia. The author, and his writing style (as if he is checking in with you throughout the book, like a protective big brother while you’re being told scary campfire stories,) kept my interest and attention all the way through this frosty journey. We are shown what happens during hypothermia, whether therapeutic, to What do you get when you cross a neuroscientist and journalist? You get book that will knock you Out Cold with a fascinating, albeit weird, journey though the science behind hypothermia. The author, and his writing style (as if he is checking in with you throughout the book, like a protective big brother while you’re being told scary campfire stories,) kept my interest and attention all the way through this frosty journey. We are shown what happens during hypothermia, whether therapeutic, torture induced, accidental, or just plain scientifically; given the definition of the words "cold" and "temperature"; and are brought to witness the invention of the first thermometer and the discovery and recognition of our accepted scientific heat measurement of 37 degrees Celsius. Our chilling brush with the past also includes examples of ancient forms and uses of cold therapy. The author also discusses extremophiles (hey, if you can’t take the heat...), water torture, exploration of Antarctica, the use of cold for healing, as well as touching on the topic of cryogenics. Another interesting fact the author touches on is how the determination is made by medical professionals as to whether someone is truly dead post a hypothermic exposure (as some do return to life after being pronounced dead, lending to the expression that “you’re not truly dead until you are WARM and dead.”) If you’re like me, with all these facts now swirling in your brain, you’re teetering you on the edge of brain freeze, and then the author adds another hard, cold fact to your ever expanding neural connections by exploring how Nazi water tortures, conducted on helpless and innocent people in concentration camps during WWII, still play a part in our science of today. Talk about a thorough walk in the valley of cold. This is a book you will return to to read and re-read. It definitely will appeal to science minded people, medical professionals, and people who just love obscure and ghoulish facts. For me, it provided background and information on a therapy that was used on my father after he had a massive heart dysthymia, causing him an anoxic injury from ineffective CPR by a well meaning, yet under educated, bystander. While this therapy didn’t produce a desired outcome for my father, but rather prolonged a horrific journey for him and our family, the information provided and HOW it’s presented allowed this jaded daughter to see just how valuable cold therapy can be if and when used correctly. This is definitely a book that will inspire deep thought and hardy conversation material in an area of science and medicine that can cause great controversy. I highly recommend this book and suggest you grab your copy when it’s released on June 1, 2021. Grab a blanket, a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and snuggle up against the chill of Out Cold . Happy reading my friends! You can always check out my reviews at http://oceansofbooks.com. Please stop by, leave a comment, follow my blog, or send me your book reading recommendations. After all, sharing is caring and I love to get new reading suggestions and conversations going! My sincere thank you to Perseus Books, PublicAffairs, NetGalley, and the author Phil Jaekl for providing me an ARC in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinions and review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cheyene

    I've developed in interest in hypothermia and the possibility of human torpor over the past year and a half so was excited to see this book come out. It was an extremely interesting and accessible read. I like how the author covered both the good and the bad side of cold experiments, and he didn't shy away from acknowledging and describing the Nazi hypothermia experiments and their victims. Every section taught me something new and no definitive statements were made without scientific evidence, I've developed in interest in hypothermia and the possibility of human torpor over the past year and a half so was excited to see this book come out. It was an extremely interesting and accessible read. I like how the author covered both the good and the bad side of cold experiments, and he didn't shy away from acknowledging and describing the Nazi hypothermia experiments and their victims. Every section taught me something new and no definitive statements were made without scientific evidence, and in cases where hard evidence did not exist, he helpfully noted this. I appreciate the bibliography in the back. I feel like I'll be referencing this book a lot in the future and I'm glad I bought it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    Out Cold by Philip Jaekl is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late May. The chapters of this book are labeled literally with the degrees in which a body can withstand the cold, succumb to it, lay in limbo, safely be ‘reheated,’ and stored in a near-prehistoric fashion. The body is portrayed as an engine powered by heat and burning of energy, the suspension and tormentingly painful symptoms of intense cold (mostly initiated by slowed air and blood circulation) and Jaekl does a lot to dispel a Out Cold by Philip Jaekl is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late May. The chapters of this book are labeled literally with the degrees in which a body can withstand the cold, succumb to it, lay in limbo, safely be ‘reheated,’ and stored in a near-prehistoric fashion. The body is portrayed as an engine powered by heat and burning of energy, the suspension and tormentingly painful symptoms of intense cold (mostly initiated by slowed air and blood circulation) and Jaekl does a lot to dispel a lot of historic and assumed myths (thanks, but no thanks, Saint Bernards and the cold-water cure), while maintaining a reader's attention span by switching between putting them in a hypothetical situation and research data.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Not your typical everyday book topic but a fascinating one! Which is what appeals so much to me. The author kept me riveted all the way through. As a teen I was involved in a cold water lake canoeing accident causing hypothermia so in a small way this is relatable. Like the author I also live in a cold climate where we annually experience the coldest region of the planet. But this book is more than that...we see what happens during hypothermia, whether therapeutic or not; read what defines "cold Not your typical everyday book topic but a fascinating one! Which is what appeals so much to me. The author kept me riveted all the way through. As a teen I was involved in a cold water lake canoeing accident causing hypothermia so in a small way this is relatable. Like the author I also live in a cold climate where we annually experience the coldest region of the planet. But this book is more than that...we see what happens during hypothermia, whether therapeutic or not; read what defines "cold" and "temperature"; we discover the invention of the first thermometer, the thermoscope, and how it worked; we see ancient forms of cold therapy and also how 37C was determined. Why are human beings not "cooked" at hot temperatures in some countries? The author discusses extremophiles, water torture, Antarctica exploration including that of infamous Amundsen, how to determine whether someone is truly dead (as some do return to life after being pronounced dead), the use of healing with cold and finally, cryogenics. Not only this but we learn how dreadful and tragic Nazi water tortures still play a part in science today. And there is so much more to learn, too. I like how the author takes the reader through the ends of each chapter personally with descriptions of how we must be feeling by now... If you have a thirst for knowledge, especially for the obscure and/or scientific, please do read this enthralling book. Yesterday a friend and I had a lengthy discussion on it. It's that type of book. My sincere thank you to Perseus Books, PublicAffairs and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this gripping and informative book!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed/posted: May 20, 2021 Publication date: June 1, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #thirdwave (#fourthwave #fifthwave?) is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exch Date reviewed/posted: May 20, 2021 Publication date: June 1, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #thirdwave (#fourthwave #fifthwave?) is upon us, superspeed readers like me can read 300+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. “A fascinating look into the strange and sometimes unbelievable history of hypothermic medicine. Jaekl weaves together a story that is part history lesson and part science thriller. This is truly a must-read for any fan of science and science fiction!” —Douglas Talk, MD/MPH, chief medical consultant, SpaceWorks Inc., Human Torpor Project The meaning of the word “hypothermia” has Greek origins and roughly translates to “less heat.” Its symptoms can be deadly—shivering, followed by confusion, irrationality, and even the illusion of feeling hot. But hypothermia has another side—it can be therapeutic. In Out Cold, science writer Phil Jaekl chronicles the underappreciated story of human innovation with cold, from Ancient Egypt, where it was used to treat skin irritations, to eighteenth-century London, where scientists used it in their first explorations of suspended animation. Throughout history, physicians have used cold to innovate life extension, enable distant space missions, and explore consciousness. Hypothermia may still conjure macabre images, like the bodies littering Mt. Everest and disembodied heads in cryo-freezers, but the reality is that modern science has invented numerous new life-saving cooling techniques based on what we’ve learned over the centuries. And Out Cold reveals a surprisingly warm future for this chilling state. We were just discussing hypothermia last night while watching Murdoch Mysteries and this shed a lot of life on a rather chilly subject (ahem) including falling through ice and/or the old uses of ice houses (and ice boxes) to hold the dead until the police showed up so that Julia could solve the crime with her beloved William! The history was fascinating to read and I found myself thinking of people over and over who would love this book! It was meticulously researched but never dry to read- I learned so many things to bring up to hubby that I will drive him even crazier! I will HIGHLY recommend this book to friends, family, patrons, Murdoch fans (it airs in 120 countries!) and book clubs as it is an interesting subject although rather macabre! As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🏒🏒🏒🏒🏒

  6. 4 out of 5

    Em Meurer

    Out Cold: A Chilling Descent into the Macabre, Controversial, Lifesaving History of Hypothermia by Phil Jaekl ⚡️ I was provided an e-ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (Out on June 1, 2021) 🌟: 4 / 5 📚: An in-depth history of hypothermia, from the ancients all the way to making science fiction a reality. 💭: I love a nonfiction book where you put it down and just go “whew, that was some good sci-comm.” Buds, this is that book. As science fiction as it sounds, and it do Out Cold: A Chilling Descent into the Macabre, Controversial, Lifesaving History of Hypothermia by Phil Jaekl ⚡️ I was provided an e-ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (Out on June 1, 2021) 🌟: 4 / 5 📚: An in-depth history of hypothermia, from the ancients all the way to making science fiction a reality. 💭: I love a nonfiction book where you put it down and just go “whew, that was some good sci-comm.” Buds, this is that book. As science fiction as it sounds, and it does sound very sci-fi because a good chunk of it was inspired by fictional science, the ultra cool (let me do one pun here) science explored in Out Cold is as real as it gets In a similar vein to Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void and Jennifer Wright’s Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them, Jaekl traces the history of using cold therapy from the ancient Egyptians to the invention of thermometers to cryotherapy. It’s a fascinating look at how we can apply hypothermia survival strategies that our bodies naturally adopt to make emergency medicine safer. There are a few things that I look for in scientific nonfiction before I feel good about recommending it: is there a holier-than-thou or condescending tone when explaining a concept, is there a knowledge barrier that you need to get over before you can read it, are there anecdotal explanations that can help someone understand? The best thing about this book is that pretty much anyone can read it. The science is explained in simple, but interesting, terms that doesn’t feel dumbed down at all. As outlandish and sci-fi as the concepts outlined in this one are, it’s all well-researched (the author has a neuroscience background) and genuinely fun to read. (Also the cover is GORGEOUS, so big bonus there, if you're me.)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    I’m not 100% sure what made me request this book on Netgalley - maybe it’s my penchant for mountaineering adventure books, where you often read about the chilling (excuse the pun) effects of extreme cold and low oxygen, or maybe it’s my affection for well-written science nonfiction, like any of Mary Roach’s or Bill Bryson’s books. This didn’t quite satisfy either “itch” I had, but was still a somewhat interesting read. It’s not anything nearly as salacious or thrilling as those adventure books, I’m not 100% sure what made me request this book on Netgalley - maybe it’s my penchant for mountaineering adventure books, where you often read about the chilling (excuse the pun) effects of extreme cold and low oxygen, or maybe it’s my affection for well-written science nonfiction, like any of Mary Roach’s or Bill Bryson’s books. This didn’t quite satisfy either “itch” I had, but was still a somewhat interesting read. It’s not anything nearly as salacious or thrilling as those adventure books, and not narrative or colloquially-written enough to fit into the category of those scientific nonfiction bestsellers. It’s a bit too academic (historical/scientific) at times, and very much focused not just on hypothermia, but specifically on the history and evolution of the use of cold as a medical therapy or treatment. The author introduces the subject by defining cold and one of the other fundamental concepts of the book: our stable internal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, why that exists, and how cold can impact it. He then tracks the history of the fatality of “coldness” back to the ancient Greeks and the Napoleonic wars, in which soldiers perished in cold water or died from prolonged exposure to cold. The earliest example of cold being used as a therapy was found by an Egyptologist, who discovered that ancient Egyptians used cold compresses to soothe wounds. Other interesting historical anecdotes in the book include the inhumane mid to late 1800s practice of using cold water douching to treat mental illnesses in asylums, the invention of the thermometer, Nazi doctors experimenting on concentration camp prisoners to test how long humans can survive in cold water, explorations of what makes Himalayan or Inuit peoples more naturally acclimatized to cold or high altitudes, and developments in cryonics (spoiler alert: it’s still not real). Overall, this is a pretty quick read on a topic you may not know a lot about. If you’re into that sort of thing, give it a go! Thank you to the publisher for the ARC via Netgalley.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    This book is really cool! (Okay, no more temperature puns) Formalities: I got a free e-ARC of Out Cold from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. So I’m going to start with the fact that I did struggle with this book a little bit. There was a lot of information and I feel like I would have absorbed it better with a physical copy or possibly an audiobook. However, I don’t really feel like that’s necessarily the book’s failing and more just my preference. On to the book: Out Cold stretches fro This book is really cool! (Okay, no more temperature puns) Formalities: I got a free e-ARC of Out Cold from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. So I’m going to start with the fact that I did struggle with this book a little bit. There was a lot of information and I feel like I would have absorbed it better with a physical copy or possibly an audiobook. However, I don’t really feel like that’s necessarily the book’s failing and more just my preference. On to the book: Out Cold stretches from Ancient Greece and Egypt to the cutting edge of hypothermic treatment today, and manages to make what could easily be a boring subject very interesting. One of the first sidebars of the book is a story of a woman who fell under ice into freezing cold water and was without a heartbeat for three hours. However - you aren’t dead ‘til you’re warm and dead, and this woman survived. Jaekl then takes us through the more modern history of how hypothermia has been deliberately used in the medical field to save lives, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. Cryogenics makes an appearance, as does a superhuman “Optiman” that never came to be. In the end, I greatly enjoyed Out Cold and will more than likely buy myself a physical copy so I can really absorb all of the information.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rosalie Matthews

    Absolutely brilliant! Chapter by chapter this book takes you on a wild ride and artfully combines history, science and humour. My favourite chapters were on cryogenics, I could not believe some of the things I was reading about actually happened! Out Cold does a great job of putting some complicated science into terms that the reader can understand, Jaekl breaks everything down so it's easy to follow and you don't feel lost reading about topics like vitrifixation and cryonics. I highly recommend Absolutely brilliant! Chapter by chapter this book takes you on a wild ride and artfully combines history, science and humour. My favourite chapters were on cryogenics, I could not believe some of the things I was reading about actually happened! Out Cold does a great job of putting some complicated science into terms that the reader can understand, Jaekl breaks everything down so it's easy to follow and you don't feel lost reading about topics like vitrifixation and cryonics. I highly recommend this book to anybody, get ready to gasp, laugh and go on quite the chilling descent into the history of hypothermia!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kimberlee (reading.wanderwoman)

    What a wild ride! I love a good nonfiction book with all the terrifying, educational, inspiring and questionable stories from the past to the present. In this case all about cold therapy and or doctor induced hypothermia and ways in which it healed annnnd ways in which it hurt. When people say the truth is stranger than fiction, it ALWAYS rings true when reading nonfiction books, especially one like this. From freezing and preserving bodies in hopes that the future of humanity will find a way to What a wild ride! I love a good nonfiction book with all the terrifying, educational, inspiring and questionable stories from the past to the present. In this case all about cold therapy and or doctor induced hypothermia and ways in which it healed annnnd ways in which it hurt. When people say the truth is stranger than fiction, it ALWAYS rings true when reading nonfiction books, especially one like this. From freezing and preserving bodies in hopes that the future of humanity will find a way to revive them from death, to potential head transplants, to many, many failed experiments.😳 That said there are many aspects to cold therapy that have worked and still continue to be used today as well as the continued work to find better ways of healing. A fascinating book about the past, present and future of hypothermia.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    I really enjoyed reading Out Cold. Years ago I researched the Nazi experiments on hypothermia for a class paper and have been interested in hypothermia since. This book does a great job of tracing the history of the term 'hypothermia', research done on hypothermia by humans, and general interest in the subject. I learned a lot. It's a easy to understand book and a good read. I received an ARC copy in exchange for a review on netgalley, however, I will probably purchase this book for myself. I really enjoyed reading Out Cold. Years ago I researched the Nazi experiments on hypothermia for a class paper and have been interested in hypothermia since. This book does a great job of tracing the history of the term 'hypothermia', research done on hypothermia by humans, and general interest in the subject. I learned a lot. It's a easy to understand book and a good read. I received an ARC copy in exchange for a review on netgalley, however, I will probably purchase this book for myself.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sean (Books & Beers)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Holstrom

  15. 4 out of 5

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  16. 5 out of 5

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  17. 4 out of 5

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  18. 5 out of 5

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  19. 4 out of 5

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  20. 5 out of 5

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  21. 5 out of 5

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  22. 5 out of 5

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  23. 4 out of 5

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  24. 5 out of 5

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  25. 4 out of 5

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  26. 4 out of 5

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  27. 5 out of 5

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  28. 4 out of 5

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  29. 4 out of 5

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  30. 5 out of 5

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  31. 5 out of 5

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  32. 5 out of 5

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  33. 5 out of 5

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