Only in the last decade have climatologists developed an accurate picture of yearly climate conditions in historical times. This development confirmed a long-standing suspicion: that the world endured a 500-year cold snap -- The Little Ice Age -- that lasted roughly from A.D. 1300 until 1850. The Little Ice Age tells the story of the turbulent, unpredictable and often very cold years of modern European history, how climate altered historical events, and what they mean in the context of today's global warming. With its basis in cutting-edge science, The Little Ice Age offers a new perspective on familiar events. Renowned archaeologist Brian Fagan shows how the increasing cold affected Norse exploration; how changing sea temperatures caused English and Basque fishermen to follow vast shoals of cod all the way to the New World; how a generations-long subsistence crisis in France contributed to social disintegration and ultimately revolution; and how English efforts to improve farm productivity in the face of a deteriorating climate helped pave the way for the Industrial Revolution and hence for global warming. This is a fascinating, original book for anyone interested in history, climate, or the new subject of how they interact.
About the Author
Brian Fagan is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A former Guggenheim Fellow, he has written many internationally acclaimed popular books about archaeology, including The Little Ice Age, The Great Warming, and The Long Summer. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.
"Fagan shows in this wonderful
book how vulnerable human society is to climatic zigzags."—New Scientist
"Even without the contemporary relevance lent the book by the specter of global warming, The Little Ice Age would be an engrossing historical volume."—South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"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
"A nimble, lively, provocative
"[A] highly readable and erudite analysis."—Guardian
"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