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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 (269 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.

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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
588 of 755 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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234 of 306 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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347 of 456 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long live the hockey stick! February 11, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Repeat something a sufficient number of times and, eventually, people will believe it, no matter whether it is true or not. It is one of the most effective tricks of propaganda and it has been used more than once against science, for instance in the demonization of the "Limits to Growth" study. During the past few years, it has been applied repeatedly, even obsessively, against the "hockey stick," the reconstruction of past temperatures on which Michael Mann and coworkers had been working from the 1990s.

It is rare in the history of science that a single piece of experimental evidence has been the object of so many attempts of demolition. Yet, all the serious reviews of the original data have basically confirmed the initial results. Being unsuccessful in demolishing the science, the attacks have moved against the scientist, Michael Mann himself, who has been subjected to an unbelievable denigration campaign, defamed, insulted, and even physically threatened. Recently, the campaign against Mann has targeted his new book, "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars", with a large number of negative reviews and derogatory remarks which appeared in the reviews of the book on the Amazon site. Most of these seem to be the work of web identities created expressly for this purpose.

What is amazing in this story is how people are fighting back! If you look at the comments on the Amazon site, you see how the derogatory comments have been overwhelmed by favorable comments written by real people who signed with their names. Climate science is still under heavy attack but, clearly, there is a core of concerned people who care about the future.

Michael Mann's "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars" is a book about our future. You need to read it to understand what kind of threats we are facing and how we can work for a better future.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Appreciated Book and Insights
While not a scientist I have been interested in the science of climate change. I appreciated Dr. Mann's story. Read more
Published 7 days ago by R Timothy Reckmeyer
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a story of attacking the messenger by those who dislike the...
This book is a must for anyone who wants to understand what's happening behind the scenes on a very important issue. Dr. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Tom Bowman
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a fine accounting by the most challenging and complex problem...
This is a fine accounting of the most challenging and complex problem of our time, written by one of the top climate scientists in the world. Read more
Published 12 days ago by AFM
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book for the reality based
Those familiar with the scientific method will enjoy the exposition of the research on climate change and the evolution of our knowledge about the subject over the past 30 years or... Read more
Published 12 days ago by JHDO
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly important must read. Making a stand for science.
An incredibly important book detailing the war of science from those who will lose out financially if we tackle climate change: the fossil fuel industry. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Star slinger
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Buy It
A real travesty. Faulty statistics and numerous misrepresentations.
Published 13 days ago by rcapetola
5.0 out of 5 stars read for yourself
If you are looking for in depth science regarding global warming, this is not the book to read. There are plenty of science papers and textbooks that cover that for those that... Read more
Published 21 days ago by k d richards
5.0 out of 5 stars Their actions have helped my generation to commit the greatest moral...
Michael Mann lays out in exquisite detail just how the climate deniers have deliberately, and primarily for their own profit motives, put all of humanity, indeed all of life on... Read more
Published 25 days ago by Daniel B. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Mann Scores Hat Trick with The Hockey Stick
Dr. Mann produced an extremely interesting, well written, and informative overview of climate science, including his famous and "controversial" hockey stick. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Emery A Coppola Jr
5.0 out of 5 stars Climate wars — what are they good for? (Absolutely nothing)
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... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Christopher Paul Winter
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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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