Jack’s Books

National Geographic Illustrated Guide to Nature

Jack wrote the weather section–one  of five–in the National Geographic Illustrated Guide to Nature: From Your Back Door to the Great Outdoors, which came out in early 2014.

The other sections are: Wildflowers, Trees & Shrubs, Rocks & Minerals, and Night Sky.

Field Guide to the Water’s Edge

Jack and  Stephen Leatherman, who is widely known as Dr. Beach for his annual 10 Best Beaches lists, latest book, wrote  the Field Guide to the Water’s Edge, which the National Geographic Society published on May 1, 2012.

The book’s 288 pages have 450 color photographs as well as  numerous maps and explanatory diagrams. It’s a guide to  exploring water’s edges throughout North America including Canada and Alaska. The main sections cover the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific coastlines; estuaries and wetlands; lakes, including the Great Lakes; and rivers, from the Mississippi and Columbia rivers to backyard streams.

Jack’s Ultimate Weather Book

Jack describes this book as “the grandchild” of the USA TODAY Weather Book. Like most grandchildren it is bigger, better looking, and smarter than the grand parents.”

The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America’s Weather was published by the American Meteorological Society and the University of Chicago Press on June 1, 2009. This is not only the largest, but also the best of Jack’s books. He makes more extensive use of story telling than in his previous books. The stories, both about contemporary people and events, and historical figures and their discoveries help bring the science to life. A wealth of information is in The AMS Weather Book. Nevertheless, the pages of the book could not contain all the topics and data that author Jack Williams and the American Meteorological Society wanted to convey. Supplementary texts are available on the University of Chicago Press Web site for those who would like to explore the book’s topics in more depth.


A Brief Look at Hurricanes

Hurricanes: Causes, Effects, and the Future By Stephen Leatherman and Jack Williams, published in 2008 by Voyageur Press. A review by the Southampton Press: Hurricane book warns of dangers to Long Island. Another  review by Keith Heidorn on his Weather Doctor Web site has more on the book.

A More Detailed Hurricane Book

Hurricane Watch: Forecasting the Deadliest Storms on Earth by Jack as co-author with Dr. Bob Sheets, a retired director of the National Hurricane Center. Published in 2001 by the Vintage Books Division of Random House. Winner of the AMS 2004 Louis J. Battan Author’s Award. A review by Keith Heidorn on his Weather Doctor Web site gives a good rundown on the book.

A Good Introduction to the Arctic and Antarctic

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Arctic and Antarctic was published in 2003 by Alpha, a member of the Penguin Group (USA) Inc. For a taste of this book, see an updated version of its story on How the U.S. Built the South Pole Station and  Background on Lake Vostok, which was published on Feb. 7, 2012 when the Russians announced they had succeeded in drilling into Lake Vostok, which is buried deep under Antarctica’s Ice Sheet.

Jack’s First Book (in two editions)

The Weather Book: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to the USA’s Weather, published by the Vintage Books Division of Random House, first edition 1992, second edition 1996. Winner of the American Meteorological Society’s 1994 Louis J. Battan Author’s Award. Commonly called The USA TODAY Weather Book.

The book Jack wanted on his desk

USA Today Weather Almanac published by the Vintage Books Division of Random House, 1994. This is the book that Jack wanted to have handy to answer readers letters and phone calls with questions about the weather. Jack and the editors who had worked on the USA TODAY Weather Book sold the idea to Random House, which planned to publish an updated edition every couple of years, but no further editions were published.