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The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines Hardcover – March 6, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 324 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Check out Michael Mann's book "The Hockey Stick & the Climate Wars" about his battle against climate denialism.

(Leonardo DiCaprio)


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...This blistering indictment of corporate-funded chicanery demands a wide audience.

(Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

And if you read just one book on climate change, make it Michael E. Mann's riveting exposé of disinformation and denial....

(Irish Times)

The best part, in my science-geeky opinion, is readers of this book will enjoy a dazzling, informative tour of the science underlying climatology and especially the analysis that went into the diagram that caused all the ruckus.

(DarkSyde Daily Kos)

A harrowing ride through the politics of truth and denial.

(Shawn Lawrence Otto Huffington Post)

...this is a book you should read, because it clearly shows the contrast between how science works and how politics works. The difference is dramatic. And fateful.

(Ben Bova Naples Daily News)

Vitally important to all citizens of a warming planet Earth.

(James P. Lenfestey Star Tribune)

A must read for every serious student of climate change science, and gets my highest rating: five stars out of five.

(Jeff Masters Jeff Masters WunderGround Blog)

I heartily recommend this book for an unusually clear view of the action on the front line of climate science from one of its principle palaeoclimate protagonists.

(Colin Summerhayes Geoscientist)

Mann deserves our respect and admiration for what he has been through and for his willingness to discuss it. The narrative is a deeply honest scientific coming-of-age story.

(Naomi Oreskes Physics Today)

This book is well written and tells a remarkable story that is likely to be of interest to a wide range of readers.

(Australian Book Review)

Mann's honest and thorough testimony on the attacks against climate science is a critical step toward resolving the climate change debate.

(Science)

Mann's account and nontechnical rebuttal of the attacks on climate science provide an excellent primer on contemporary climate science....Highly recommended.

(Choice)

One of the most useful books yet in explaining climate science, especially the use of paleoclimate proxy data to assess the history of Earth's climate.

(Rudy M. Baum Chemical & Engineering News)

Confronting climate change will require clear scientific thinking and courageous actions by many individuals. Dr, Mann's book details the powerful evidence supporting climate change as well as the relentless attempts by climate deniers to distort climate science and attack those who are speaking the truth about it.

(Jerry Brown, governor of California)

A very entertaining book that winds its way through the thicket of climate science and politics.

(Natural Hazards Observer)

must-read

(Jeff Goodell Rolling Stone)

Mann deserves praise for taking the time to speak to other scientists and citizens about what threatens us all. He is not only a brilliant scientist but an ethical hero, a model for all.

(Kristin Shrader-Frechette Metascience)

If you read only one book on climate change, this one is hard to beat.

(Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

Very few people have sounded more important alarms about our climate future, and very few people have paid a higher price for doing so. Michael Mann is a hero, and this book is a remarkable account of the science and politics of the defining issue of our time.

(Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet 1/20/2012)

The brilliant and courageous climatologist Michael Mann knows what it's like to be viciously attacked by the well-funded deniers of scientific evidence and how critical it is to respond. In this gripping, personal, front-lines account of climate politics, Mann tells the "hockey stick" story, exposing the forces behind the denialist rhetoric, refuting the charges of disinformation campaigns, and eloquently conveying the importance of both doing great science and communicating its societal implications to a wider public.

(Paul R. Ehrlich, co-author of The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment and Humanity on a Tightrope 2/19/2012)

Although not initially of his own choosing, Michael Mann has been the most important, resilient, and outspoken warrior in the climate battle--responding to threats and persecution with courage and resolve every step of the way. Anyone who cares about the climate issue must read his fascinating--and enraging--story.

(Chris Mooney, author of Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future 2/27/2012)

In The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, Michael Mann presents his conviction that climate change is real and potentially deadly, and defends his now famous "Hockey Stick Graph." A truly readable book on a topic that will remain evergreen.

(James Lovelock, author of A New Look at Life on Earth and The Revenge of Gaia )

A must read to appreciate the endless disinformation campaign by climate change deniers at the highest levels of government and corporate America...and the chilling, but serious implications of the crusade to discredit distinguished scientists like Michael Mann.

(Sherwood Boehlert, Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives 1983-2007, former chairman of the House Science Committee )

As one of the nation's leading climate researchers, no one has felt the brunt of the attacks from politicians and the fossil fuel industry more than Michael Mann. This is his personal account from the center of the maelstrom, documenting the lies and distortions about his work and his heroic efforts to stand up for scientific truth.

(Henry Waxman, Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee )

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 )

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

(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...This blistering indictment of corporate-funded chicanery demands a wide audience.Kirkus Reviews (starred review)Kirkus Reviews (starred review)Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

(Kirkus Reviews (starred review) )

And if you read just one book on climate change, make it Michael E. Mann's riveting exposé of disinformation and denial....

(Irish Times )

...the best part, in my science-geeky opinion, is readers of this book will enjoy a dazzling, informative tour of the science underlying climatology and especially the analysis that went into the diagram that caused all the ruckus, first published in Nature by Mann, Bradley and Hughes in 1998: the Hockey Stick.

(DarkSyde Daily Kos )

A harrowing ride through the politics of truth and denial.Huffington Post

(Shawn Lawrence Otto Huffington Post )
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023115254X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231152549
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (324 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science 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 the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Mann is author of more than 190 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books: Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines. He is also a co-founder of the award-winning website "RealClimate.org".

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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If you're looking for an authoritative, first-person history of the recent politicization of climate science, this is the book. The writing is sketchy in spots -- Mann is, after all, a practicing scientist, not a professional writer. Nevertheless, the level of detail, and insights that could only arise from someone surprised to be caught up in a strange and frightening series of events, give the work a feel of authenticity. I'm reminded of Layton's "And I was there" discussion of intelligence breakdowns in the leadup to the opening of the second world war in the Pacific.

If you've followed the story of Prof. Mann and his emergence as perhaps the most disparaged scientist of our generation, probably you know, at a rough level, much of what is in this book. Nevertheless, this book still contains a first-person perspective and comprehensive, coherent presentation of the "Hockey Stick" saga not to be found elsewhere. It will be an invaluable reference for future historians, and not just of science, in explaining the policy choices of the early 21st century.

Beyond its historical value, there is real science to be learned from the book. The origins of Mann's famous graph, as something of an afterthought to a deeper interest in natural climate variability, is worthy of note. From a scientific viewpoint, his work is a relatively minor part of the climate change story. Mann is quite straightforward about that role and his admiration for the pioneering now-senior scientists who came before. How ironic that his detractors have made him into a larger-than life figure, more or less as an accident of having produced a visually compelling figure.
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Michael Mann tells the story of how his research on the climate of the past, turned him into a target of people who choose not to accept the basic science of anthropogenic climate change. It's a fascinating story, yet it is disturbing in the way in which one scientist was singled out for attack and abuse. Mann describes this as the "Serengeti Strategy," the singling-out tactic used by packs of predators in Africa to try to take down prey that would otherwise be too big for them.

The uplifting part of this story is that Mann's results have since been vindicated repeatedly and that Mann himself has not only survived the assault, but emerged stronger and more motivated than ever. He is now one of the most prominent spokesmen for good climate science, thanks in part to the failed efforts of his enemies.
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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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