Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page

Wegener's Jigsaw

Clare Dudman

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Sceptre

Published : 2003

Copyright : Clare Dudman 2003

ISBN-10 : HB 0-340-82304-6
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-340-82304-0

Publisher's Write-Up

A tale of obsession, endurance, courage and love: of the nature of ice, and the heat and energy within both the earth and the human heart.

It is the dawn of the Twentieth Century: a time of discovery and scientific revolution, when much of the world remains a mystery, waiting to be mapped and understood. And in Germany, a reckless young man named Alfred Wegener is determined to understand it all.

From the moment he nearly drowns in an icy Berlin canal at the age of three, Wegener's irresistible urge to discover the unknown takes him on an extraordinary quest. Record-breaking flights in hydrogen balloons; expeditions across the unexplored and treacherous ice of Greenland; the searing horrors of trench warfare, and journeys to the brink of volcanoes, all form part of a restless search, which eventually leads him into the arms of a remarkable woman.

In this passionate and beautifully written novel, Dudman imaginatively recreates the life of Alfred Wegener, whose theory of continental drift - derided and discredited by his contemporaries - would eventually revolutionise our perception of the world. Wegener's Jigsaw is the story of one man's unshakeable belief in an idea, and of the woman who tried to save him from the greatest danger of all.

Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Victim (070703) Rating (8/10)

Review by Victim
Rating 8/10
A bit of background…

The world is full of many unsung heroes, pioneers who were virtually unrecognised in their own lifetimes. Artists whose master works were given away for a meal, which now fetch millions. It is amazing too, how little we understand, probably less now in the 21st century than even in the preceding ones. We may know more, but there is even more to know about. The concept of tectonic plates and continental drift is one that most people have grown up with, but at the onset of the 20th century, this was not the case.

Theories about land bridges explained the similarities of animals on different continents, the shrinking earth wrinkling like a berry left in the sun, (mankind as the mould on the surface?) causing the different shapes. Then along came Alfred Wegener, who theorised about the continents being on plates that are racing around the planet, crashing into each other with such force that the crumple zones form mountain ranges such as the Himalayas.

This is the story of Wegener, told in the style of an autobiography, although it is actually a work of fiction. Covering the life, trials, successes and tribulations of a man who probably contributed huge amounts to our modern ignorance! He was a scientist, but of many disciplines, with what seemed like a fascination of the world.

Review type bit…

I had never heard of this man, who did so much to shape our world, although a quick Google will throw up about 210,000 pages (Christopher Columbus throws up almost half a million), so I had no expectations, great or otherwise.

The story itself, which is very heroic, is basically a biography although with some license. It is very well written, with plenty of emotion, and some lovely descriptions. Certain aspects were very well covered, but the ending was quite a surprise. Occasionally it is a little disjointed, but by the time you reach the end, I suppose you could see why, anyway, it is so nicely put together that I was more than willing to forgive those little bits.

If you have any interest in popular science, or even just like a good, well-written story I could quite heartily recommend this one.
Victm (7th July 2003)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends