Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681373690
Pages: 400
Publication Date: August 13, 2019

Heaven's BreathA Natural History of the Wind

by Lyall Watson, introduction by Nick Hunt


Available as an e-book from these retailers
This title can be purchased from your favorite e-book retailer, including many independent booksellers.

Buy on Amazon Buy on iBooks Buy on Barnes & Noble

Wind is everywhere and nowhere. Wind is the circulatory system of the earth, and its nervous system, too. Energy and information flow through it. It brings warmth and water, enriches and strips away the soil, aerates the globe. Wind shapes the lives of animals, humans among them. Trade follows the path of the wind, as empire also does. Wind made the difference in wars between the Greeks and Persians, the Mongols and the Japanese. Wind helped to destroy the Spanish Armada. And wind is no less determining of our inner lives: the föhn, mistral, sirocco, Santa Ana, and other “ill winds” of the world are correlated with disease, suicide, and even murder.

Heaven’s Breath is an encyclopedic and enchanting book that opens dazzling new perspectives on history, nature, and humanity.


A comprehensive and fascinating study.
—Bernard Levin, The Observer, Bernard Levin’s 1984 Book of the Year

A book which fascinates, delights and stimulates with a thousand fascinating facts.
Daily Mirror

This is the kind of book that answers dozens of questions first arising in childhood and lingering unresolved until there was Lyall Watson.... Watson’s pot-pourri of wind poetry, wind jokes and wind facts is so diverting that one hardly minds losing the thread now and then.
—Dennis Drabelle, The Washington Post

Collectors of curious bits of information and odd statistics will find Heaven’s Breath a gold mine.... Mr. Watson discusses the wind’s role in geology, plant and animal evolution, cultural history, trade, health, mythology, art, literature and language.
—Patricia T. O’Conner, The New York Times