One of the first books to detail the potential horrors of climate change for civilization. Fagan has completed a very difficult task written a book accessible to the general public and to the scholar While the scholar may agonize over some of his attempts at popular writing, he she will still welcome Fagan s history of climatic change Much of environmental history is about peeling away layers and investigating how we understand our planet in a given place and time Fagan handles this task well For the person with an everyday interest in what is happening to the climate around us, this book introduces both the history and the science of climatology in an easy to understand and engaging fashion Fagan ends this book in a way that leaves us thinking about our tomorrow and the price humans have paid to adapt to the global environment He finishes by paraphrasing Otto von Bismark, we need to hear the footsteps of history and learn from them. In And Early , One Of The Most Powerful El Ni Os Ever Recorded Disrupted Weather Patterns All Over The World Europe Suffered Through A Record Freeze As The American West Was Hit With Massive Floods And Snowstorms In The Western Pacific, Meanwhile, Some Island Nations Literally Went Bone Dry And Had To Have Water Flown In On Transport PlanesSuch Effects Are Not New Climatologists Now Know The El Ni O And Other Climate Anomalies Have Been Disrupting Weather Patterns Throughout History But Until Recently, No One Had Asked How This New Understanding Of The Global Weather System Related To Archaeology And History Droughts, Floods, Heat And Cold Put Stress On Cultures And Force Them To Adapt What Determines Whether They Adapt Successfully How Do These Climate Stresses Affect A People S Faith In The Foundations Of Their Society And The Legitimacy Of Their Rulers How Vulnerable Is Our Own Society To Climate Change In This Dazzlingly Original New Book, Archaeologist Brian Fagan Shows That Short Term Climate Shifts Have Been A Major And Hitherto Unrecognized Force In History El Ni O Driven Droughts Have Brought On The Collapse Of Dynasties In Egypt El Ni O Monsoon Failures Have Caused Historic Famines In India And El Ni O Floods Have Destroyed Whole Civilizations In Peru Other Short Term Climate Changes May Have Caused The Mysterious Abandonment Of The Anasazi Dwellings In The American Southwest And The Collapse Of The Ancient Maya Empire, As Well As Changed The Course Of European HistoryThis Beautifully Written, Groundbreaking Book Opens A New Door On Our Understanding Of Historical Events I went back and read this book looking for some unbiased opinions about the climate debate Fagan was really being cautious with science that was new in 1998 than giving any credence to global warming being something out of man s control It was very interesting to see just how poignant an event in the South Pacific can be to the rest of the world I came away, not believing any about the human cause of climate change, but believing that mother nature is biding its time as we accumulate a mass of problems that will lead to what Fagan calls a knockout punch We are focused so much on carbon emissions, that we don t seem to notice the overpopulation, the misuse of land, the deforestation, bad economics, etc These are the things that will make it difficult to survive an ENSO event I originally bought this book after reading a textbook written by Fagan for an archaeology class I took He is a gifted writer and presents the facts in a straightforward fashion He is also not afraid to call out people who embellish the facts This was really a well rounded, well written book. This books is excellent at detailing the increase in El Nino events and their relationship to failed monsoon seasons It is well documented and uses evidence from a 500 year period This still can not tell us if the duration pattern of closer El Nino s is driven by Global Warming or a naturally occurring pattern It does however foreshadow times of strife when the planet will have increased food shortages due to the correlation between El Nino events and the failed monsoon seasons A great read for environmentally minded individuals. The author had divided his book into three parts Part One is an explanation of the El Nino La Nina i.e South Pacific Oscillation phenomena and of a lesser known in the general population North Atlantic Oscillation These phenomena are part of the constantly changing climate on this planet Part Two discusses ancient populations and the effects these phenomena had on them and how the ancients dealt with them Part Three is a treatment of the modern history the the phenomena from just before the Little Ice Age to present There are a few black and white maps which could have been presented better but are an attempt to help illustrate the phenomena. The first part covers the new understandings about climate.The second part covers the civilizations that have suffered upheavals and or decline because of climatic change.The third part takes on the issue of man made climate change.Some of the historical inferences are debatable Were the Intermediate periods in Egyptian history primarily or partially caused by climatic conditions Some interesting insights on the complexity of weather patterns but certainly not enough for a book length As a result, too much petty discussions and descriptions of relatively irrelevant events from random points in time. The premise of this book seemed interesting how extreme weather patterns influenced the rise and fall of civilizations through history Climate change is in the news almost daily these days, and I ve watched the people on the Weather Channel explain El Nino before so I thought Hey, this might be interesting Unfortunately, I was wrong I will not say the book was bad, but it was very boring With a capital B boring I struggled to read it initially, had to stop for a couple months before finally making myself go back and finish it I even tried to skim the weather sections so as to get to the parts about history, but even those sections were snoozers All the minute details of weather patterns and their discovery through history made me go brain dead Guess I m just a big picture guy when it comes to climate change So, if you love reading about weather or you have a horrid case of insomnia, give this book a try. Interesting take on the effects of weather and climate on the fate of civilizations.
- 304 pages
- Floods, Famines, and Emperors : El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations
- Brian M. Fagan
- 07 September 2019 Brian M. Fagan