The Great Warming: Book summary and reviews of The Great Warming by Brian Fagan

The Great Warming

Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations

by Brian Fagan

The Great Warming by Brian Fagan

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Book Summary

From the tenth to the fifteenth centuries the earth experienced a rise in surface temperature that changed the 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[By] 2025, an estimated 2.8 billion of us will live in areas with increasingly scarce water resources. Looking backward, Fagan presents a well-documented warning to those who choose to look forward." - Publishers Weekly.

"Superbly integrating the human and climatological past, Fagan’s expertise wears easily in a fine popular treatment relevant to contemporary debate about climate." - Booklist.

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Brian Fagan is emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. 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.

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