The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations


By (author) Professor of Anthropology Brian M Fagan

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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Format: Paperback | 282 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 206mm x 23mm | 272g
  • Publication date: 1 August 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 159691601X
  • ISBN 13: 9781596916012
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, maps
  • Sales rank: 120,363

Product description

A breakout bestseller on how the earth's previous global warming phase reshaped human societies from the Arctic to the Sahara--a wide-ranging history with sobering lessons for our own time. From the tenth to the fifteenth century the earth experienced a rise in surface temperature that changed climate worldwide--a preview of today's global warming. In some areas, including western Europe, longer summers brought bountiful harvests and population growth that led to cultural flowering. In the Arctic, Inuit and Norse sailors made cultural connections across thousands of miles as they traded precious iron goods. Polynesian sailors, riding new wind patterns, were able to settle the remotest islands on earth. But in many parts of the world, the warm centuries brought drought and famine. Elaborate societies in western and central America collapsed, and the vast building complexes of Chaco Canyon and the Mayan Yucatan were left empty. The history of the Great Warming of a half millennium ago suggests that we may yet be underestimating the power of climate change to disrupt our lives today--and our vulnerability to drought, writes Fagan, is the "silent elephant in the room."

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Author information

Brian Fagan is an emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Born in England, he did fieldwork in Africa and has written about early man, forensic archaeology, and many other topics. His books on the interaction of climate and human society have established him as a leading authority on the subject; he lectures frequently around the world. He is the editor of "The Oxford Companion to Archaeology "and the author of "Fish on Friday: Feasting, Fasting, and the Discovery of the New World"; "The Little Ice Age"; and "The Long Summer," among many other titles.

Review quote

“Fagan is a great guide. His canvas may be smaller than Jared Diamond's Collapse, but Fagan's eye for detail and narrative skills are better.” "—New Scientist" “[A] fascinating account of shifting climatic conditions and their consequences.” "—New York Times"“The Great Warming is a thought-provoking read, which marshals a remarkable range of learning.”  "—Financial Times" “‘The Great Warming' is a riveting work that will take your breath away and leave you scrambling for a cool drink of water. The latter is a luxury to enjoy in the present, Fagan notes, because it may be in very short supply in the future."”   —Christian Science Monitor"“Brian Fagan offers a unique contribution to this discussion [of climate change]...Readers should not underestimate this book, writing it off as another addition to a burgeoning genre: the travel guide to a torrid world. Fagan’s p