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The Hockey Stick Illusion [Kindle Edition]

A. W. Montford
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Here is the definitive exposé of the distorted science behind the iconic global warming graph centrally responsible for the global panic about climate change.

From Steve McIntyre's earliest attempts to reproduce Michael Mann's Hockey Stick graph, to the explosive publication of his work and the launch of a congressional inquiry, The Hockey Stick Illusion is a remarkable tale of scientific misconduct and amateur sleuthing. It explains the complex science of this most controversial of temperature reconstructions in layperson's language and lays bare the remarkable extent to which climatologists have been willing to break their own rules in order to defend climate science's most famous finding.

The book also covers the recent leak of the email archives of the Climatic Research Unit which has led to the resignation of its Director, Professor Phil Jones, and exposed the degree to which climate scientists on both sides of the Atlantic have hidden and manipulated data to support their claims.

Editorial Reviews


Andrew Montford's The Hockey Stick Illusion is one of the best science books in years. It exposes in delicious detail, datum by datum, how a great scientific mistake of immense political weight was perpetrated, defended and camouflaged by a scientific establishment that should now be red with shame. It is a book about principal components, data mining and confidence intervals--subjects that have never before been made thrilling. It is the biography of a graph...Montford's book is written with grace and flair. Like all the best science writers, he knows that the secret is not to leave out the details (because this just results in platitudes and leaps of faith), but rather to make the details delicious, even to the most unmathematical reader. I never thought I would find myself unable to put a book down because--sad, but true--I wanted to know what happened next in an r-squared calculation. This book deserves to win prizes.
Matt Ridley, Prospect

Andrew Montford tells this detective story in exhilarating style.
Joe Brannan, Geoscientist

For anybody who wants to understand the scientific and psychological background to Climategate, there is no better read than Andrew Montford's new book, The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science.
Peter Foster, National Post

About the Author

Andrew Montford - The author studied chemistry at St Andrews University. He is a respected blogger at Bishop Hill where his layperson's explanations of the Hockey Stick debate have won wide acclaim. He lives in rural Scotland with his wife and three children.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2979 KB
  • Print Length: 489 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1906768358
  • Publisher: Stacey International (June 6, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005A54KEM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #485,274 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
272 of 355 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hockey story January 25, 2010
This is a superb review of the story of the hockeystick, the temperature reconstruction which was supposed to show that late 20th century temperatures were unprecedented for at least 1,000 years and which was highlighted in the third IPCC report in 2001. What Montford does in this book is take us through Steven McIntyre's attempt to reproduce the original result of Michael Mann and the controversy that followed. His account is very well written and it reads like a detective story. The technical details of the debate are clearly explained even though there is no heavy mathematics or statistics. He tells the story chronologically and gives a good feel of what people on both sides of the debate actually said at the time (and there are plenty of references as well as judicious quotes from all sides). I have been following this debate for the past five years or so. To my mind this gives as clear an account of the debate as we are likely to see. What is now clear is that the Mann conclusions, far from being based on coherent evidence across a geographical widespread range of proxies all showing similar patterns across the Northern hemisphere, were based on a tiny subset of proxies, bristlecone and foxtail pines, from California whose anomalous 20th century growth was almost certainly not caused by high temperature. The apparently broad evidence was an illusion created by an eccentric implementation of a standard statistical technique called principal components analysis. Mann's version of this (which appears to be his own creation) effectively mined his hundred plus proxies for any which had hockeystick shapes and then gave them huge weight in the analysis. What is worrying about all this is not so much the fact that a paper is wrong. Read more ›
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95 of 139 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The plot of the Hockey Stick Illusion will be familiar to any follower of the Colombo shows on television. In each case, we see the humble investigator initially ignored, brushed aside, stonewalled, disdained, doubletalked, waffled, red herringed, and evaded by lofty and complacent Establishment figures, citing their own authority, crowded schedules, sophisticated reasoning, advanced degrees, abstruse mathematics, and exalted ideals.

In this case, the Columbo figure is Steve McIntyre, a Canadian mining consultant. A.W. Montford's book tells the gripping and suspenseful details of McIntyre's pursuit of the self-denominated "hockey team" led by Michael Mann, who wrote the key chapters on his own work for the IPCC, and Phil Jones, who maintains the temperature record used by the IPCC to document the "Hockey Stick": showing unprecedented and anomalous anthropogenic global warming in the Twentieth Century while denying that any comparable or greater warming occurred in the Medieval period.

McIntyre relentlessly replicates and decodes the increasingly desperate devices used by the climatocrats to defend their findings. But parallel to this fascinating story is the amazing tale of the ascent of Mann. From an obscure newly minted PhD in 1998 at the U Mass department of geosciences, he became the Lead Author of the crucial Observed Climate Variability chapter in the IPCC report, contributor to several other chapters, 'Scientific Advisor' to the White House on climate change, pundit on CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, BBC, NPR, PBS, and scores of Establishment newspapers and magazines.
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125 of 184 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 500 Wonderful Pages of "Caspar" from the Bishop! February 6, 2010
The "Bishop Hill" blog was well-respected, but not particularly remarkable until the posting of "Caspar and the Jesus paper" in August 2008. With this posting, we learned that the esteemed Bishop (now also revealed as Andrew Montford), the author of this new book, had a talent for putting scattered bits and pieces of information into a highly coherent presentation. It was remarkable enough that he was able to take myriad blog postings and figure out what they all added up to, and further remarkable that he was able to map this understanding into writing. Would it be possible to achieve this Casper-style in a more encompassing work? Too much to ask for? Well, HERE it is!

The narrative is highly readable, not mathematical, except that Montford does specifically give the official names of things. Instead of saying something like "they blew the math" he tells you how data were improperly normalized, or the use of SVD, and the consequences. In addition to describing the ill-advised technical issues, he describes appearance of the poor science (seeing what you want to see), other more common human foibles such as possible (or likely) "cherry-picking", and the suppression of contradicting evidence, all of which are not supposed to be in science.

While it would not be difficult, based on his blog perhaps, to discern the Bishop's views on AGW and its politics, the current book is basically impartial, except as it relates to the poor science and the overriding political motives of the AGW advocates. It deals rationally and fair-mindedly with the (illusion of the) Hockey stick graph. People commenting on the book are advised to direct criticisms, if any, on the basis of what he writes rather than what "camp" they perceive the author to belong to.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars There is a lot more to the climate debate than ...
There is a lot more to the climate debate than we have been informed. The IPCC appear to have endorsed climate change without considering expert opinion to the contrary.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. C. Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars A Scientific Detective Story and A Scientific Morality Tale
It is difficult to underestimate the importance of Andrew Montford's retelling of the battle to determine the veracity of the so-called Hockey Stick. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Observer
5.0 out of 5 stars beginning of Chapter 15 summarizes it best. What surprised me is how...
Well written, well documented. Some of what is reported as surprising is the norm in scientific publishing and reviewing by journals (speaking as an former editor). Read more
Published 2 months ago by George D. Klein, author, Dissensions
1.0 out of 5 stars AYFKM
The most hilarious waste of time ever spent.
Published 2 months ago by Kay
4.0 out of 5 stars compelling insight into a scandal on par with the Piltdown
compelling insight into a scandal on par with the Piltdown man
Published 3 months ago by Rockdoc
1.0 out of 5 stars Good for them
"The Hockey Stick Illusion" is science denialist propaganda. Montford does not support his case. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gregory T. Laden
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Matt Ridley
What was the Hockey Stick debate all about?

It was about at least two papers published by Michael Mann (and co-authors Badley and Hughes), and a graph which became the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by T. J. Olson
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Mann doesn't want you to read this book!
Since Michael Mann has asked his followers to review this book -- negatively, of course -- it must be having a strong impact on 'The Team' behind the Global Warming panic. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Glenda Browne & Jon Jermey
5.0 out of 5 stars A first rate account of Steve McIntyres' (with Ross McKitrick) ...
A first rate account of Steve McIntyres' (with Ross McKitrick) dogged expose' of Michael E Manns' creation, The Hockey Stick, detailing it's defective data, flawed statistical... Read more
Published 3 months ago by seames
1.0 out of 5 stars Reheated denialist nonsense? Oh, come on...
Modern climate science has its roots back in the 19th century, when Tyndall performed laboratory experiments in order to investigate physical and chemical properties of several... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Alexandre Araújo Costa
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