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Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and…

Floods, Famines, and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations

by Brian Fagan

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Odd ragbag with occasional lyrical passages. the title certainly does not fit. Very few floods and not an emperor in sight. El Niño gets a look in but not clear what it has to do with the collapse of Viking Greenland or the Indian famine. I suspect a title imposed by the marketing department. ( )
  vguy | Aug 23, 2015 |
went back and read this book looking for some unbiased opinions about the climate debate. Fagan was really being more 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 anymore about the human cause of climate change, but believing more 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. ( )
  KR2 | Sep 27, 2011 |
Climate Archeology
  Budzul | Jun 1, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0465011217, Paperback)

Before 1997, the name "El Niño" was unknown to most ordinary folks. Meteorologists, oceanographers, commercial fishers, and weather buffs knew of this periodic climatic anomaly, but to the everyday person on the street, a few degrees' difference in the Pacific Ocean's temperature was irrelevant. Then one of the most powerful El Niños in recorded history caused bitter freezes in Europe, brutal snowstorms and floods in western North America, and deadly droughts throughout the South Pacific. People sat up and took notice as a relatively tiny change in oceanic temperature resulted in death and destruction in many parts of the globe.

Brian Fagan examines the social effects of El Niño and other powerful weather phenomena in Floods, Famines and Emperors. He gives plenty of examples of how cultures have adapted to stressful weather and the ways in which climatic alterations have changed the course of history. From droughts in ancient Egypt to monsoons in India, the far-reaching effects of meteorology's most cantankerous kid have deeply affected the way humans live in the world. Illustrated with useful maps and diagrams, Floods, Famines and Emperors is a clear, fascinating look at an aspect of climate studies--and of El Niño--mostly ignored by science. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:25 -0400)

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