The Little Ice Age

The Little Ice Age

How Climate Made History, 1300-1850

Book - 2000
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Baker & Taylor
A new perspective on familiar events in history describes how a 500-year change in climate that lasted from A.D. 1300 until 1850 shaped modern European history.

Perseus Publishing
Brian Fagan examines the dominant climate event of the last millennium-the 500-year Little Ice Age-and shows how it affected major episodes of European history

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.

Book News
The abandonment of the Viking colony in Greenland and isolation of that in Iceland, the spread of European cod to the western Atlantic luring settlers to North America, the necessary changes in agriculture practices that prefigured the Industrial Revolution, the end of the English wine industry, and the adoption of potatoes as a staple food in Ireland are among the consequences popular writer Fagan (archaeology, U. of California- Santa Barbara) notes for the climate change immediately preceding the current one. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

WIth its basis in cutting-edge science, a new perspective on familiar events in history and the confirmation of a long-standing suspicion--that the world endured a 500-year cold snap that lasted from A.D. 1300 until 1850--shaping the turn of events in European modern history.

Publisher: New York : Basic Books, c2000
ISBN: 9780465022717
Branch Call Number: 551.694 FAG
Characteristics: xxi, 246 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm


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Aug 17, 2012

An excellent book - really ties together climate and sociology. Why people moved to certain places, why certain crops were grown, and how some of these choices led to disaster when the climate changed again.
Hopefully we can learn some lessons here and plan for future climate change.

May 09, 2012

This book was fascinating, in that it showed how people lived during the Middle Ages through Elizabethan times and pre-industrial Europe, struggling in the horrendous conditions of famine, plague, and oscillating weather patterns of freezing cold and terrible rains.


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