NORLA Selected Title

Tales of the Wind

The air on earth – and everything it carries

When the winds of the world move the air, it’s never just air.

Ellen Viste has spent years searching for stories about wind and weather. Is there a place where the wind never blows? Who exhaled the air you inhale? How long did it take for the radioactive waste from Fukushima to travel around the world, and will that incessant headwind ever let up? Through narratives from science, history, and journeys in nature, we come to understand why the air rarely stays still, and how the constant flow of seeds, water vapour, pollutants, and microbes shapes the world.

In Tales of The Wind, you’ll read about how Columbus sought out a route to Asia but found trade winds heading for America, Vasco da Gama defied centuries of logic and battled the monsoon, a Briton explored sandstorms in a Ford Model T, Japan used the wind to bomb the United States and Jesuit monks who were the first to predict hurricanes.

Tales of the Wind succeeds in showing how something as ordinary as today’s weather forecast is built on scientific thinking with roots tracing back to the ancient Greeks.

Bergens Tidende

Ellen Viste opens up a whole world of stories about the wind in an insightful and creative way. One would almost think she came flying in on the east wind.


The book is consistently lively and entertaining, brimming with a joy for storytelling. Viste intertwines the phenomenon of air pressure by blending scientific explanations with the tale of a royal hot air balloon journey in the 18th century. She takes us on amusing thought experiments where Earth’s rotation halts, the wind is turned off, and the result is a hypothetical shower of light-blue oxygen flakes over red tulip petals. The book succeeds in presenting both the history of science and research in an accessible and popularized form.