The Winds of Change: Climate, Weather, and the Destruction of Civilizations

Eugene Linden, Author . Simon & Schuster $26 (302p) ISBN 978-0-684-86352-8

Linden, who has been writing about the environment for 20 years (The Future in Plain Sight ), is angry that, despite compelling scientific consensus, American politicians aren't facing up to the climate change that is upon us, and he's frustrated that the public isn't forcing them to do so. Such slowpoke acceptance of an inevitability, Linden argues in this articulate polemic, is rooted in the fact that "it has been our good fortune to prosper... during one of the most benign climate periods"—but one that, if past worldwide weather cycles do portend the future, is fast coming to an end, with severe cultural and political consequences. Linden draws his conclusion from millennia of historical evidence, including the relatively recent Little Ice Age, starting in the 14th century, that wiped out Norse settlers in Greenland; more recently, a fierce El Niño in 1876–1878 precipitated droughts that killed millions, and another in 1997– 1998—the most powerful ever recorded and a "taste of things to come"—cost the world economy $100 billion. Several chapters explaining the science of climate change will be hard going for lay readers, but the author's passion for the world to comprehend a coming catastrophe helps propel his alarming narrative. B&w illus. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/28/2005
Release date: 02/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-0-684-86353-5
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