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The Little Ice Age tells the story of the turbulent, unpredictable, and often very cold years of modern European history, how this altered climate affected historical events, and what it means for today's global warming. Building on research that has only recently confirmed that the world endured a 500year cold snap, renowned archaeologist Brian Fagan shows how the increasThe Little Ice Age tells the story of the turbulent, unpredictable, and often very cold years of modern European history, how this altered climate affected historical events, and what it means for today's global warming. Building on research that has only recently confirmed that the world endured a 500year cold snap, renowned archaeologist Brian Fagan shows how the increasing cold influenced familiar events from Norse exploration to the settlement of North America to the Industrial Revolution. This is a fascinating book for anyone interested in history, climate, and how they interact....

Title : The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850
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ISBN : 9780465022724
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
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The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850 Reviews

  • Dana Stabenow
    2018-10-02 03:43

    A dossier on a 550-year European cold snap compiled from tree rings, ice cores, and the accounts of country clergymen and gentlemen scientists. Do we make the weather, or does it make us?Because the Arctic ice pack receded during the Medieval Warm Period, Fagan writes, the Vikings invaded Europe from England to Tuscany and even Constantinople. Because the Arctic ice pack receded the Atlantic cod moved north and provided a food source for regular trips to Greenland, which the Vikings then colonized. When the Arctic ice pack returned with the beginnings of the Little Ice Age, the trips ceased and the colonies died out or were absorbed by the Native population.Drought in the middle of the Little Ice Age caused Spanish settlers to move their colony from South Carolina to Florida, which as Fagan puts it “may help explain why most people in the southeastern United States speak English rather than Spanish.”We read this book on Book Talk Alaska in 2003 and got more calls than any other book before, with the exception of Eats, Shoots and Leaves. People always have an opinion on the weather and grammar.

  • Kristin
    2018-09-27 10:43

    I'm a climatologist reading a book on climate by an anthropologist, so I'm going to be skeptical. I enjoyed the history of agricultural development in Europe and the North Atlantic, especially passages such as this:"Filthy, clad in rags, barely surviving on a diet of bread, cheese, and water, the rural worker of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain was a far cry from the attractive, apple-cheeked villager so beloved of artists and greeting card companies." [page 146]I was less satisfied with his treatment of weather and climate. He ascribes everything to the NAO -- literally every time his history comes upon a period of storms (droughts), he mentions that it was probably due to a low (high) phase of the NAO... without citing any record of NAO. He's been told that the NAO controls European climate, and that gives him a carte blanche to say the NAO must have been high this drought in France, low during this cold and wet period in Scotland, low during a decade of cold waters around Iceland, etc. Sure, the NAO explains a large part of the variance of temperature and precipitation in Northern Europe (about 50% ?), but it's a far cry from causing every single weather event. We have NAO indices from instrumental records as far back as 1870, and before then, we can see the NAO in Greenland ice cores (e.g. this Science paper). I'd expect someone who argues for the influence of climate (or weather) on continental-scale agriculture to have looked this up. He also seems to lack any understanding of the NAO as red noise, e.g. referring to different parts of the NAO "cycle" and making statements like this: "We do not know what causes high and low indices, nor can we yet predict the sudden reversals that trigger traumatic extremes." [page 28] The book also suffered from a very poor copy editor. The San(?!) Josef Glacier in New Zealand; six kilometers is roughly ten miles; inconsistent use / absence of special characters in foreign words.All in all, nice try.

  • Libby
    2018-10-14 04:29

    I like to think that I know a lot about history. Periodically, authors like Brian Fagan teach me how much more there is to know. This book is bursting with information about how the Medieval period I thought I understood,was formed and influenced by factors I didn't know or didn't understand. Let's start with style. Fagan is a dynamic writer. He moves his narrative along swiftly and surely like a championship skier on a difficult downhill. We get the thrills and not the spills. When I say thrills, I mean it. He makes history vivid and lively, taking us into the lives of ordinary people. He patiently reduces complex and difficult ideas into baby-step illustrations that non-scientists can understand, but he doesn't talk down to his readers. It takes real skill to write a book for the general reading public. We aren't specialists, but we don't want to have the author treat us like morons either. Fagan manages this feat with grace and wit. Fagan tells us of a Europe that had benefited from several hundred years of clement weather, expanding agriculture and having more children as a result. By the late 1200's, the land had reached its carrying capacity. The continent was set for disaster and sadly it got one. The weather began to change. Later historians and Climatologists would call it the Little Ice Age, but the folk of the times called it floods, ice, famine and the wrath of God. Crops failed several times in the fist half of the 1300's and then in 1347, the hammer came down. A dreadful disease,(they called it a pest)spread pitilessly and surely through an already weakened populace. People watched in horror as their friends and families sickened and died so swiftly that they might be well at breakfast and dead before nightfall. To repeat a famous phrase, a third of the world died.Changes in climate set us up for changes in the way we live in the world. What we eat, wear, do for a living, enjoy in our leisure time, all these depend on weather, and weather is climate made local and intimate. The world Geoffrey Chaucer wrote about was ancestral to the world we live in. Climate is vital and we ignore it at our peril. Brian Fagan has a lot to teach us and we NEED TO LISTEN!

  • Emma Sea
    2018-09-24 06:31

    My favourite kind of pop-science writing! This is so easy to read, and supported by a ton of references and further reading without unbearably cluttering up the text. The only part which I'd rate less then 5 stars is the conclusion. I'm not sure if Fagan's publishers wouldn't let him write something more realistic, but the notion that humans will suddenly decide to "work for the global rather than the national good, for the welfare of our grandchildren and greatgrandchildren rather than to satisfy short-term, often petty, goals" is ludicrous and goes against every piece of evidence in the book. Can you say Kyoto Protocol?Fagan's explanation and description of the Great Potato Famine was the best I've read: really quite heart-rending stuff.Fagan's book is 13 years old, and his predictions seem spot on so far from this vantage point: rather than a solid warming, where we enjoy and flourish in a balmy tropical climate, global climate change brings with it an overall trend change while producing temperature anomalies in both the high and low ranges; stronger storms and blizzards, and longer droughts. Plus the remarkable speed with which the Medieval Warm Period flipped suddenly to the Enlightment-era Little Ice Age makes me guess I'd better prepare to fight off wolves while retrieving Russian penicillin from a frozen sea.

  • Cynda
    2018-09-27 06:22

    This is the first book I have read by Brian Fagan. I will be reading more.Fagan points out that no respectable historian would say that weather created political revolutions or population movements, but there are connections. The particularly cold and wet weather often experienced between 1300 and 1850 contributed to poor agricultural results when most people were serfs or small land owners. The hunger and cold and diseased misery and deaths of so many people contributed to emigration to cities and to US. The hunger and cold and diseased misery and deaths of so many people contributed to lack of bread which resulted in insufficient aid through Poor Laws in England and insufficient relief in France. The English government became more democratic as a result of the people demanding that their needs be addressed. The French monarchy and aristocracy were eliminated to a large extent because the French first 2 Estates were so removed from their serfs' misery and the serfs could no longer tolerate it.Good stories to revive Weather Channel's series When Weather Changed History.

  • Tim Martin
    2018-10-03 05:25

    _The Little Ice Age_ by Brian Fagan is a fascinating, very readable, and well researched book on the science and history of a particular period of climatic history, the "Little Ice Age," which lasted approximately from 1300 to 1850. Despite the name, the Little Ice Age (a term coined by glacial geologist Francois Matthes in 1939, a term he used in a very informal way and without capitalized letters) was not a time of unrelenting cold. Rather, it was an era of dramatic climatic shifts, cycles of intensely cold winters and easterly winds alternating with periods of heavy spring and early summer rains, mild winters, and frequent and often devastating Atlantic storms as well as periods of droughts, light northeasterly winds, and intense summer heat. The Little Ice Age was "an endless zigzag of climatic shifts," few lasting more than 25 years or so.Nevertheless the climate of the time proved difficult and overall was uniformly cooler, often considerably so, than the time before and afterwards. The Little Ice Age was an era when there used to be winter fairs on the frozen River Thames during the time of King Charles II, one that produced the great gales that devastated the Spanish Armada in 1588, was when George Washington's Continental Army endured a brutal winter in Valley Forge in 1777-1778, when pack ice surrounded Iceland for much of the year, when Alpine glaciers destroyed villages and advanced kilometers from their present positions, when hundreds of poor died of hypothermia regularly every winter in London late into the 19th century. It was also a time of massive rainy periods, such as the immense rains of 1315 and 1316 that helped stop the armies of French King Louis X from crushing the rebellious Flemings and produced an immense famine as crops couldn't survive the near unending rain.Piecing together the climatic history of the Little Ice Age has been a challenge, one that required a multidisciplinary approach. Fagan recounted how reliable instrument records only go back a few centuries and then primarily only for Europe and North America. Researchers have instead relied on information obtained from tree rings, ice cores, lake and marine bottom sediment cores, wine harvest records, analysis of the weather portrayed in art of the period, and anecdotal written records of country clergymen and gentleman scientists to piece together what the weather was like during the time period.Although the causes of the Little Ice Age are not completely understood, much of it had to do with the actions of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), a "seesaw" of atmospheric pressure between a persistent high over the Azores and an equally prevalent low over Iceland. Using charts and maps, Fagan showed how the NAO governs the position and strength of the North Atlantic storm track and thus Europe's rainfall. The NAO index shows the constant shifts in the oscillation between these two areas, with a high NAO index indicating low pressure around Iceland and high pressure in the Azores, a condition producing westerly winds, powerful storms, more summer rains, mild winters, and dry conditions in southern Europe. A low NAO index signaled high pressure around Iceland, low pressure in the Azores, weaker westerlies, much colder winters, with cold air flowing from the north and east. The exact reasons for the shifts in the NAO result from a complex interaction between sea-surface temperatures, the Gulf Stream, distribution of sea ice, and solar energy output. Additionally, several massive volcanic eruptions had an effect on the climate of the time, notably Soufriere on Saint Vincent in the Caribbean in 1812, Mayon in the Philippines in 1814, and the titanic Tambora eruption in Indonesia in 1815 (the latter with one hundred times the ash output of Mount Saint Helens).The author noted that placing the climatic events of the Little Ice Age in a proper context in terms of human history has been subject to some debate. Many archaeologists and historians are suspicious of environmental determinism, of the notion that climate change alone was the reason for such major developments as agriculture or a particular war. However, others had felt that climate had played very little or no role in human history, and that Fagan completely rejects, primarily because throughout the Little Ice Age (even as late as the 19th century), millions of European peasants lived at the subsistence level, their survival dependent totally upon crop yields, generally what they themselves grew on land they owned or rented. It was centuries before even parts of Europe (at first the Netherlands and Britain) developed modern specialized commercial agriculture (with intensive farming and growing of nitrogen-enriching plants and animal fodder on previously fallow land) and reasonably reliable transportation networks to distribute food to larger areas. During most of Europe for the Little Ice Age, cycles of good and bad harvests, of cooler and wetter springs, meant the difference between hunger and plenty. This sufficiency or insufficiency of food was a powerful motivator for human action. Fagan wrote that while environmental determinism may be "intellectually bankrupt," climate change is the "ignored player on the historical stage."Fagan recounted several times when the climate of the Little Ice Age played an important role in the historical events of the time. For instance while Flanders and the Netherlands in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and England in Stuart times really began to modernize agriculture, little innovation occurred in France, with late eighteenth century French agriculture very little different from medieval agriculture, leaving millions of poor farmers and city dwellers at the edge of starvation and at the mercy of the vagaries of climate. While the decision to not modernize rested in the hands of the nobility (who were uninterested) and in the peasants (who were often deeply suspicious of change and wedded to tradition), it was the climatic events of the late eighteen century that lead to the awful harvest of 1788, the politicization of the rural poor, and the path to the French Revolution.

  • Sarah
    2018-09-23 10:25

    Technically I did not finish this, since I had to take it back to the library before I could finish the last three chapters, but I did skim them. So, I read this book. In its entirety. Don't try to talk me out of it.Very informative! It seems that weather gets ignored a lot in history, when weather played a pretty big role in deciding the survival of life itself in the pre-industrial world. The only time it gets mentioned, really, is when it plays a large role in some single struggle, like the wrecking of the Spanish Armada or French knights being killed because their horses got stuck in the mud. Or, heck, the Donner party, though there was some human stupidity involved in that, too. I found it very useful to be able to put historical happenings in the context of their environment. It really has helped me enrich my understanding of the late medieval period. Did you know that there were vineyards in England in the 13th century, prior to the beginning of The Little Ice Age? And that they produced excellent wine? I didn't! Now I do.At times, it seemed to read like a list of weather disasters and crop failures, but that was all right. This isn't a social history book -- it's a weather history book.

  • Caroline Caldwell
    2018-10-05 05:42

    A well researched, but definitely biased, look at the interaction between humans and the natural world we inhabit. I felt a little talked down to and manipulated by the direction of the narrative, but the facts are interesting. I just wish he would have left out the diatribe at the end about how global warming was going to do crazy stuff and we aren't doing anything to stop it. It was immature on his part. I think it is much more powerful to let the facts to speak for themselves. I appreciate the curation of historical documents that went into this work. There is something to be learned from this book.

  • Jessica
    2018-10-10 06:25

    The amount of time Fagan must have spent in dark and dusty European archives blows my mind. His research uncovers forgotten records in amazing detail. Unfortunately, the book could use an equally fastidious editor. Very interesting, if poorly organized. I still recommend it, though!

  • Richard Reese
    2018-10-22 11:50

    Once upon a time, Brian Fagan became curious about how history has been shaped by climate. He did a remarkable amount of research, and then delivered a fascinating and very readable book, The Little Ice Age. Mainstream history tends to focus on rulers, empires, wars, and technology, providing us with a pinhole perspective on ages past. Fagan used a wide angle lens, and revealed how the miserable peasantry of Europe struggled to survive in a world of daffy rulers, steamroller epidemics, wildly erratic weather, and the ever-present threat of famine — a highly insecure existence in a world with no safety nets, and brief life expectancy.Most of our detailed, regularly recorded weather data is less than 200 years old. Older writings made note of climate conditions, times of prosperity, famines, plagues, and natural disasters. More recently, we’ve discovered that tree rings and ice cores can provide climate information going back thousands of years. The annual rings in tree trunks are thicker in ideal weather and thinner in lean years. The annual layers of ice in glaciers are thicker in cold years, and thinner in warm ones. In this way, climate leaves a fingerprint pattern that we can decode. Ice also preserves ash residue, marking volcanic activity, which can have significant effects on weather. While climate can vary from year to year, and day to day, modern climate science has discovered broader trends in weather patterns. Fagan examined three trends: the Medieval Warm Period (900-1200), the Little Ice Age (1300-1850), and the warming trend of the fossil-fuelled industrial era. In northern Europe, the years between 800 and 1200 were the warmest period in the last 8,000 years. There were vineyards in England. Generous grain harvests fed a population explosion, which naturally triggered a rash of bloody conflicts. Because of the warm weather, sea levels rose between 1000 and 1200, creating challenges for the lowlanders. “At least 100,000 people died along the Dutch and German coasts in four fierce storm surges in about 1200, 1212-1219, 1287, and 1362.”The kickoff for the Little Ice Age came in 1315, when it rained almost continuously from May to August. Fields became lakes or knee-deep mud. Floods erased entire villages. Wars had to be cancelled. The population, which had exploded between 1100 and 1300, now had to share a puny harvest, if any.The survivors eagerly awaited a return to normal weather in 1316, but rains resumed in the spring. Livestock diminished, crops failed, prices rose, and the roads were jammed with wandering beggars. Many villages were abandoned. People dined on pigeon dung, dogs, cats, and the corpses of diseased cattle (rumors of cannibalism). By the spring of 1317, they had eaten their seeds, and had few oxen to plow with. The rains returned. There were seven years of bad harvests, creating steady employment for gravediggers.For the next 550 years, the weather got colder, and there were more storms. Frigid spells might last a season or a decade. Cold weather was extreme from 1680 to 1700. London trees froze and split open, and the Thames was covered with thick ice. Chilly summers led to poor harvests from 1687 to 1692. You could walk across the ice from Denmark to Sweden in the winter of 1708-09. The All Saints Flood of November 1570 submerged the Dutch lowlands, drowning 100,000. This book is jammed with stories of weather-related problems — floods, droughts, crop failures, epidemics, famines, and food riots. Most people struggled to survive via subsistence farming, using primitive technology. Most didn’t have enough land for livestock, which meant little manure for fertilizer. Under ideal conditions on prime land, planting a bushel of wheat would produce just four or five bushels at harvest time. Because of this low productivity, feeding society required the labor of nine out of ten people. Famine was common, and food relief was rare. “Even in the best of times, rural life was unrelentingly harsh.” “Farm laborers lived in extraordinary squalor….”Fagan’s tales reinforced my dislike of agriculture. It fuels overpopulation, converts healthy wild ecosystems into wreckage, enslaves plants and animals, and requires inequality and brutality. It is proprietary — all the big juicy melons in that field belong to my group, and our field is strictly off-limits to any other creature. This is the opposite of nature’s way, in which a big juicy melon is fair game for one and all, finders keepers. Private property turns humans and societies into obnoxious two-year olds — “that’s MY melon!” Possessions become objects of wealth, power, and status. If I steal your horse, then its power becomes mine. In the insatiable pursuit of wealth, people will lie to your face, snatch your purse, cut your throat, bomb cities into ashtrays, and destroy entire planets. You can’t farm without warriors to protect the real estate, livestock, and granaries, and you can’t control warriors without hard-fisted leaders.The legions of hungry dirty peasants who produced the wealth were expendable, and lived in a manner that none of us would tolerate — while the lords gaily feasted. “Excavations of medieval cemeteries paint a horrifying picture of health problems resulting from brutal work regimes. Spinal deformations from the hard labor of plowing, hefting heavy grain bags, and scything the harvest are commonplace. Arthritis affected nearly all adults. Most adult fisherfolk suffered agonizing osteoarthritis of the spine from years of heavy boatwork and hard work ashore.” Today, our lives are unnaturally soft and cozy. We exist in a “luxurious” unhealthy cocoon created by a temporary bubble of abundant energy. The shelves at the store are always full, a wonderland of easy calories. We have no memories of the hellish life of muscle-powered organic agriculture. We have forgotten how recently our ancestors died from famines and pestilence. As the cost and scarcity of energy increases, our bubble will surely pop.Fagan gives us an eye-opening preview of what life is likely to look like when the fossil fuel bubble becomes the subject of scary old fairy tales (The Big Bad Consumer). As our miraculous machines run out of fuel, we will have no choice but to slip and slide into a muscle-powered future, which will be anything but unnaturally soft and cozy. He also warns us that climate change is often not smooth and gentle. History is full of sudden catastrophic shifts. Despite our whiz-bang technology, and hordes of scientists, climate shifts remain beyond our control. We will experience whatever nature decides to serve us — even if we exercised our famous big brains, and permanently stopped every machine today. Climate was a persistent threat to agriculture-based societies long before coal mining was invented, because agriculture had far more vulnerabilities than benefits. This book provides vital information for those struggling to envision a sustainable future based on organic agriculture. Ideally, enlightened humans will deliberately keep the transition to muscle-powered organic agriculture as brief as possible, whilst devoting immense wisdom to the essential goals of full-speed population reduction and rewilding. There is nothing finer than a sustainable way of life. All other paths lead to oblivion.

  • Erik Walker
    2018-10-08 04:23

    I enjoyed this book and the perspective it gave me on history and climate change. Written in 2000, it would seem to be 'dated' about current climate problems, but not really, and the focus is on the Little Ice Age (1300-1850), so whatever this lacks in the new information from the techniques developed since 2000, it does not matter so much. If you are interested in European history (and beyond), you will find your understanding of what contributed to the political upheavals changed by reading this.

  • Bibliophile
    2018-10-05 08:41

    Brian M. Fagan's The Little Ice Age is a fascinating general history of Europe that focuses on the role of climate change (specifically, the five and a half centuries of extreme cold and unsettled weather that affected Northern Europe from 1300 to 1850.) The book is strongest when Fagan focuses the early parts about the Medieval Warm Period and the abrupt changes in that occurred in the 14th century; the later chapters are more cursory, although the history of agriculture in 18th century France and the failure of grain harvests in the late 1780s provided a fascinating background to the French Revolution.This is a kind of historical writing that I love because it is about the lives of the majority of individuals, rather than the "great man" school of history that focuses on a few exceptional individuals. I think it's safe to say that the lives of peasants in medieval Europe were indeed "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short" - a welcome corrective to a sometimes romanticized view of the past.

  • George
    2018-10-14 07:34

    I found this combination of history and climate and how they interact fascinating. It is also a bit depressing. This is an account of the turbulent, unpredictable, and often very cold years from 1300 - 1850, known as "The Little Ice Age," in European history and how this altered climate affected historical events and the lives of people living during this period. It is filled with details, both climate wise and the daily lives of people. It is this second part that is depressing as it reveals the extremely poor living conditions common people experience and how close they were to starvation, malnutrition and disease on a daily basis.

  • Sandra Strange
    2018-09-24 10:52

    So often the forces that shape history are barely acknowledged in history courses. Here's an example: the little ice age which determined SO MUCH of what happened politically, socially and economically from 1300 to 1850! And as a history major, I had NEVER heard anyone mention it! This interesting account will give insight into how much weather shapes history.

  • Jack
    2018-10-02 07:46

    Fascinating read on how climate impacted history. I would love to read an updated version of this, since it was written in 2000 and our scientific knowledge has grown since then.

  • Juliet Wilson
    2018-10-19 08:39

    Subtitled 'How Climate Made History 1300 - 1850', this book charts how the mostly cold and often unpredictable climate affected human history, particularly in Europe, over the period often known as the Little Ice Age. Covering events including The French Revolution, The Bubonic Plagues and the Irish Potato Famine, the author outlines how years of cold and wet springs and summers made harvests more unreliable and how the resulting food shortages affected people's lives.It is interesting to see how much the climate changed over these years and how incredibly unpredictable it often was, a good year might be followed by several poor years and then by a relatively stable period of a few years. It makes you realise that the changeability of the current climate is historically normal - the climate has always changed. However, it is very clear, just by looking at some of the graphs alone, that the current rising temeratures and extreme weather events (think Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria) are well beyond normal and to large extent are a result of human activities.It's a fascinating book and an important one for understanding our climate:"..we can be certain that such minor 'ice ages' occured many times earlier in the Holocene, even if we still lack the tools to identify them. We would logically expect another such episode to descend on earth in the natural, and cyclical, order of climate change, were it not for increasingly compelling evidence that humans have altered the climatic equation irrevocably through their promiscuous use of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution. We may be in the process of creating an entirely new era in global climate, which makes an understanding of the Little Ice Age a scientific priority."

  • Julien Rapp
    2018-10-03 04:30

    Is climate change real? Of course, it is. The earth is a dynamic place. The sun is a dynamic star. The universe itself is ever changing.I am writing this as a review of three books I have reread this year. Two are by Brian Fagan, and one by Steven Mithen. They cover ice ages, warming periods, and their effects on human development and the rise of civilizations. Climate change is a natural phenomenon. What isn’t natural, is how our behavior is a new element in the equation of climate change. We have the capacity to make rapid changes that the environment, the creatures that share this world with us, and even ourselves, can’t adapt to fast enough.These books give us a look at the effects of climate change at a slower, preindustrial pace. They can serve as a benchmark of the dark side of what our achievements have brought. They look at climate change from a historical and archaeological perspective. They tell the story of climate through the eyes of our own history and how these changes affected us.While these books cover a period of about 20,000 years, our greatest influence as a growing factor in our earth’s climate is less than 200 years.

  • Tony Johnston
    2018-10-17 04:29

    I had high hopes for this book but I am sad to say that I found it very tedious. It's not the subject matter, more that it was just poorly written and repetitive.Its a shame because I am definitely the target market for this sort of book. A lovely nerdy subject, a sensible general viewpoint (climate has a clear effect on historical events) and lots of interesting facts to play with. Thing is, if you just repeat similar facts in what seems like an uncoordinated stream, the reader, or at least this reader, tends to feel like he is going around in circles.The writing style is a little too similar to the Little Ice Age itself: variable and full of rather cold spells. I think by the time he was talking about the fact that some Swiss villagers had lost "top field" to a glacier again in fourteen hundred and eleventy six, he had mostly lost my interest. Tumbling through the failure of the Congolese cod crop for the 14th time in three weeks, my head was lolling on the pillow. And as we rounded the final bend and headed for the shock conclusion "watch out climate change deniers and all, funny weather's about" I was just grateful to put the thing down for the final time.

  • Javier Pavía
    2018-10-01 07:42

    Aunque me lo he leído despacio, no he sido capaz de encontrarle el hilo conductor. Es fácil de leer y tiene muchísimos datos (y mapas, que ayudan bastante), pero cada capítulo habla de varias cosas inconexas. No agrupa las consecuencias del frío, no hace un recorrido por países ni sigue un orden cronológico, así que buscar un dato concreto es muy complicado. Eso sí, aporta un punto de vista sobre la historia medieval que se suele pasar por alto: hizo un frío fuera de lo común. Eso no significa que todo lo que ocurrió fuera culpa del frío, pero...

  • John Szalasny
    2018-10-18 10:36

    Despite the age of the book, The Little Ice Age is an excellent reverse road map of the issues we will face as global warming ramps up throughout the 21st century. It is a tale of how humans in our recent past have had to deal withwildly fluctuating temperature and precipitation patterns, combined with disease and malnutrition, causing population declines in several periods from the 14-19th centuries.The last chapter on the Warmer Greenhouse takes into account the beginning years of the current spiral. Nothing has changed since the 2000 publication date.

  • Camille93
    2018-10-16 10:43

    Interesting but brief overview of 500+ years of history in 200 pages. This fact alone means that the author painted in broad strokes and I often found myself wanting more detail. Luckily there is a long bibliography for further reading that will allow you to dig into the subjects that are particularly interesting.The author is careful not to say that climate changes cause history (and even points out the fact that so-called climatic determinists are considered woefully shortsighted and wrong) but like, his thesis is that climate changes (kind of) cause (some) history. It’s very clear that the author is an anthropologist and I found his descriptions of human societies and cultures most interesting. I think I want a book that is more focused on a smaller chunk of history both in time and space.

  • Vicki
    2018-10-21 07:32

    I really liked this book but I have an interest in this kind of stuff. It might be a little dry if it's not your thing but it's very informative and probably comes as a big surprise that there was a type of (little) ice age in the not so long ago history of our planet.

  • Anna
    2018-10-18 08:23

    Fascinating. I learned so much, and devoured this one like a novel.

  • Erin
    2018-10-09 08:27

    It's a fascinating topic but his writing style isn't the most engaging.

  • Agnes
    2018-09-26 10:32

    This book presents a lot of fascinating facts! Unfortunately, the content seems to be organized very chaotically and the writing style is somewhat dry. Hence only four stars.

  • Wagner Crivelini
    2018-10-23 07:38

    Anyone trying to fully understand the risk of the still controversial global warming should read this book.Understand the past to be prepared for the future.

  • Susan J.
    2018-09-26 11:29

    This was a quick read, but I still became lost with some of the scientific terms (reader, not author, error!). I'd never heard of the Little Ice Age so feel better informed.

  • A.B.
    2018-09-23 07:32

    This is an interesting read that seemed very appropriate to what has been happening in our world of late. This is not just for history buffs.

  • Tim
    2018-09-24 06:27

    Some interesting bits of facts, but not well organized nor are inconsistencies in his presentations fully explained. It is an intriguing topic, though.

  • Leslie
    2018-09-23 11:40

    "The vicissitudes of the Little Ice Age remind us of our vulnerability again and again. In a new, climatic era, we would be wise to learn from the climatic lessons of history." pg. 217