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The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines [Kindle Edition]

Michael E. Mann
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In its 2001 report on global climate, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations prominently featured the “Hockey Stick,” a chart showing global temperature data over the past one thousand years. The Hockey Stick demonstrated that temperature had risen with the increase in industrialization and use of fossil fuels. The inescapable conclusion was that worldwide human activity since the industrial age had raised CO2 levels, trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and warming the planet.

The Hockey Stick became a central icon in the “climate wars,” and well-funded science deniers immediately attacked the chart and the scientists responsible for it. Yet the controversy has had little to do with the depicted temperature rise and much more with the perceived threat the graph posed to those who oppose governmental regulation and other restraints to protect our environment and planet. Michael E. Mann, lead author of the original paper in which the Hockey Stick first appeared, shares the real story of the science and politics behind this controversy. He introduces key figures in the oil and energy industries, and the media front groups who do their bidding in sometimes slick, bare-knuckled ways to cast doubt on the science. Mann concludes with an account of the “Climategate” scandal, the 2009 hacking of climate scientists’ emails. Throughout, Mann reveals the role of science deniers, abetted by an uninformed media, in once again diverting attention away from one of the central scientific and policy issues of our time.

Editorial Reviews


In this meticulous and engaging brief on climate change research and the political backlash to legitimate scientific work, Penn State professor Mann narrates the fight against misinformation from the inside.
(Publishers Weekly )

An important and disturbing account of the fossil-fuel industry's well-funded public-relations campaign to sow doubt about the validity of the science of climate change.


If you don't believe our climate is changing, read this book. Dr. Mann will change your mind. For us, it's a war of words. Preserve the Earth, and pass the ammunition. (Bill Nye the Science Guy )

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
648 of 847 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good scientist acting with integrity February 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have been directly involved in the hockey stick war. I have been been an active research ecologist for over 20 years, and during the last 10 years I have focused on climate change and its effects on living systems. During part of my recent career, I was employed as science advisor to the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida, a legislatively mandated commission. In March of 2007, while giving an invited report on climate change to a select committee of the Florida legislature, a conservative legislator rose from his seat and declared me to be a liar and demanded that I be dismissed. Indeed, I was asked to step from the podium. Only one newspaper in the state carried the story, and my employers, who were GOP appointees, did not so much as apologize for my treatment. Democracy in action, right?

My sin? I had shown the hockey stick. When I approached the legislator who had objected, I discovered that he did not know that the National Academy and reviewed Michael Mann's work and found it to be fundamentally sound. Indeed, it was not apparent that he even knew of the existence of the US National Academy. After the climate gate emails were released, the prestigious journal Nature referred to the push back from the oil soaked Irrational Right as a "street fight." I could not agree more.

I have carefully read and evaluated Mann's work and I find it to be of the highest standards of scientific integrity. He has been vindicated by numerous reviews. Despite continued harassment, he continues to find time to do excellent research. I have the greatest respect for him as a colleague and role model.

The story that Mann recounts in this book is horrific and indicative of the demise of our most cherished institutions.
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260 of 346 people found the following review helpful
By John M
Format:Kindle Edition
I first became aware of the changed nature of the debate about the world's climate and what Mankind is doing to it a few years ago. For years, arguments batted back and forth over the science, in newspaper columns and across the internet. There had always been a palpable sense of hostility to the scientists doing the research but a few years ago there was a shift, so that it became the prominent theme. In 2009 I read the excellent Climate Cover-up (also recommended) and the events than then unfolded confirmed pretty much what that book was documenting - the emails incident, disproportional seizing upon small errors in IPCC sub-reports that for years had lain undetected and so on. And - in particular - the personal harrassment of the folk doing the science.

Mann's book brings the whole story up-to-date, and comes out at a time where we have recently witnessed, for example, the disgraceful intimidation of Texas climate scientist and committed Christian Katherine Hayhoe. What these guys are up against is an organised disinformation machine that gets personal when its other methods fail to gain traction and then pretends it was doing nothing wrong. On certain blog sites, links to this review page were posted together with the advice that people should read the book before reviewing it, knowing full well that some would simply swarm onto here and post unpleasant reviews (many of which have now been removed). If you want an example of how this machine works, there you have it! If you want to learn more, read and digest the contents of this revealing book, about what it is actually like to be out there, on the front line. Highly recommended.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anyone who is familiar with the character of a typical scientist will know that scientists as a group generally prefer the laboratory to the lectern; their mindset makes them uncomfortable with political rough-and-tumble, especially as it is currently practiced. Michael Mann felt that way at the beginning of his career (see page 253.) Nor was his work, at the outset, aimed at showing how human actions were disturbing the climate; rather, he and his colleagues back then were looking for natural cycles that might be contributing to the temperature changes they observed. The first four chapters in this book reveal how recognition that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is real developed gradually in his mind.

But Dr. Mann was fated to be thrust out of his quiet laboratory and into the limelight by what he calls the climate wars. "Wars" is a fitting term, for the factual basis of climate science has for several decades been under sustained attack by all the weapons in the politicians' arsenal: selective use of data and quotations, misinformation, deceptive interpretation of results, guilt by association, and character assassination. He was not the only climate scientist facing such attacks, but his "hockey stick" graph (first produced in 1998 with Bradley & Hughes) became the hated iconic symbol of AGW for those who sought to block or delay government action against that warming.

Prolific at collaborating and publishing papers with other climate scientists, Dr. Mann had no need to write a book to bolster his academic reputation. There is a good deal of science in this book, because that is necessary to clarify how the great majority of the attacks on his work were not scientific.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Vital information, courageous author, superbly written.
Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book - one everyone should read including people who think climate change isn't happening
Published 3 days ago by Mark Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well researched; credible presentation.
Published 3 days ago by Tim Stevens
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this important book without prejudice.
Michael Mann has become a sort of "lightning rod" for climatology as a science. This is perhaps because he has been consistently willing to fight back against anti-science... Read more
Published 4 days ago by John C. Wiegard
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
How much ignorance can be put in one book?
Published 4 days ago by jwr
5.0 out of 5 stars And hopefully those who have attempted to vilify him will go down in...
This book presents, in a clear, compelling, and very honest manner the true story about the events leading up to and after the infamous (and utterly immoral) "Climategate"... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Michael Kamandulis
5.0 out of 5 stars I would like to thank Dr
I would like to thank Dr. Mann for taking a stand, despite death threats, and perpetual harassment, against the most despicable people in the world!
Published 5 days ago by Jack
5.0 out of 5 stars Voice of scientific truth
Thank goodness there are voices of truth and reason we can still find among so much fabricated denial from the anti-science crowd who want to dumb down the whole country.
Published 5 days ago by M. Skinner
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooray for Dr. Mann
This is the seminal publication on climate change. Informative, factual, and readable. Pretty good for an academic! Read more
Published 6 days ago by David L. Crandall
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting very readable with useful facts
My science book club read this book and found it the most objective discussion of climate change information we have found. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Elizabeth Goreham
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More About the Author

Dr. Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC).

Dr. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. His research involves the use of theoretical models and observational data to better understand Earth's climate system.

Dr. Mann was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. He has received a number of honors and awards including NOAA's outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. He contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2012 and was awarded the National Conservation Achievement Award for science by the National Wildlife Federation in 2013. He made Bloomberg News' list of fifty most influential people in 2013. In 2014, he was named Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and received the Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education. He is a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society.

Dr. Mann is author of more than 170 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books: Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming in 2008 and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, in 2012. He is also a co-founder and avid contributor to the award-winning website "".

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