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The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850

Brian Fagan

3 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, Society, Climate change

The groundbreaking history of how climate change transformed Europe and the world, from a renowned archaeologist -- updated with a new preface on the latest climate research

THE LITTLE ICE AGE tells the fascinating story of the turbulent, unpredictable, and often very cold years of modern European history. Using sources ranging from the dates of long-ago wine harvests and the business records of medieval monasteries to modern chemical analysis of ice cores, renowned archaeologist Brian Fagan reveals how a 500-year cold snap began in the fourteenth century. As Fagan shows, the increasingly cold and stormy weather dramatically altered fishing and farming practices, and it shaped familiar events, from Norse exploration to the settlement of North America, from the French Revolution to the Irish potato famine to the Industrial Revolution.

Now updated with a new preface discussing the latest historical climate research, THE LITTLE ICE AGE offers deeply important context for understanding today's age of global warming. As the Little Ice Age shows, climate change does not come in gentle, easy stages, and its influence on human life is profound.

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Praise for The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History 1300-1850

  • Fagan shows in this wonderful book how vulnerable human society is to climatic zigzags. - New Scientist

  • The Little Ice Age could do for the historical study of climate what Foucault's Madness and Civilization did for the historical study of mental illness: make it a respectable subject for scholarly inquiry. - Scientific American

  • An engaging history.... A fascinating account of events both obscure and well known, including the French Revolution and the Irish potato famine, as seen through the lens of weather and its effect on harvests. - Foreign Affairs

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