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The Weather Makers : How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth Hardcover – Illustrated, January 27, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; 1ST edition (January 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871139359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871139351
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Mammologist and paleontologist Flannery (The Eternal Frontier), who in recent years has become well known for his controversial ideas on conservation, the environment and population control, presents a straightforward and powerfully written look at the connection between climate change and global warming. It's destined to become required reading following Hurricane Katrina as the focus shifts to the natural forces that may have produced such a devastating event. Much of the book's success is rooted in Flannery's succinct and fascinating insights into related topics, such as the differences between the terms greenhouse effect, global warming and climate change, and how the El Niño cycle of extreme climatic events "had a profound re-organising effect on nature." But the heart of the book is Flannery's impassioned look at the earth's "colossal" carbon dioxide pollution problem and his argument for how we can shift from our current global reliance on fossil fuels [...]. Flannery consistently produces the hard goods related to his main message that our environmental behavior makes us all "weather makers" who "already possess all the tools required to avoid catastrophic climate change."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

The arguments, evidence, and conclusions should surprise few readers in Kolbert's Field Notes from a Catastrophe and Flannery's The Weather Makers. Given existing scientific knowledge, neither author (and no critic) doubts that global warming is real, with terrible consequences looming ahead.<P>The difference between the books largely comes down to tone and style. Kolbert, a reporter for the New Yorker, provides an excellent primer on climate change. Praised for her elegance and accessibility, she offers a loose travelogue with "the clearest view yet of the biggest catastrophe we have ever faced" (Los Angeles Times). She takes her science seriously—from sulfate droplets to recarbonization—and rarely lets her belief in impending catastrophe cloud her objectivity. Flannery's book may appeal more to activists. However, the Chicago Sun-Times thought that his passionate clarion call to action undermined sound arguments; others criticized scattered information and incomplete discussion on ways individuals can counteract climate change. Still, like Kolbert, Flannery elucidates complex concepts in climatology, paleontology, and economics. In the end, both books ask a crucial question: "Will we be lauded by future generations for heeding the advice of our best scientific minds, or remembered hereafter as counterexamples—as paragons of hubris, of a colossal failure of the imagination?" (Los Angeles Times).<BR>Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

This book is well researched, well written and very compelling.
Jesse Liberty
I have read many books that relate to this topic in one way or another.
Amazon Customer
We recommend Tim Flannery's impassioned book about climate change.
Rolf Dobelli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

160 of 175 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on February 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Not another book on climate change!", you lament. Readers may feel surfeited by the rash of books on "global warming" appearing in the past few years. The feeling is understandable. The situation should be considered an indication of how serious the problem is for all humanity. In this case, the author introduces a little-considered aspect. Tim Flannery, whose keen eye and bountiful wit always offers something new presented in a easily readable way, will not leave you jaded nor have your head nodding in ennui. Although Flannery does address some questions dealt with elsewhere, he adds the most significant topic of all - the future of life.

As a zoologist, Flannery has extensive field experience in the forests of New Guinea and elsewhere. He's written of human impact on large animals in North America and Australia. Here, he writes of human impact on all life. Instead of hunting animals to extinction, humans are modifying the entire biosphere through pollutants and gases. This indirect imposition has already killed off at least one species, he demonstrates. In explaining how the Golden Toad went extinct, Flannery sets the scene expansively. The Toad wasn't just a local phenomenon, but died out due to wide-ranging changes in ocean temperature, air mass movements and changes in rainfall. This combination of influences resulted in what appeared to us as a minimal change in habitat. To the Golden Toad, that "minimal change" proved catastrophic. The object lesson is clear. How much change will the species humans rely on for survival tolerate? Flannery, citing James Lovelock's "Gaia" hypothesis of the biosphere as a tightly woven "system", argues that the tolerance for change is meagre. And human-induced change is squeezing the tolerance downward.
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100 of 115 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tim Flannery's account of man made changes in our climate is a book which will appeal to a wide audience. Scientists, meteorologists, and others with a professional interest in climate and the weather will appreciate the broad range of expertise Flannery demonstrates throughout this work. A scientist and conservationist himself, Flannery obviously knows what he is talking about. Readers without such a scientific background will enjoy this work because Flannery, like Jared Diamond, is able to write about what could be mind-numbingly complex issues with a wit and clarity that holds one's interest. As an Australian, Flannery writes from the perspective of a citizen of one of the nations which is most heavily environmentally stressed. And it is vital for humanity in Australia and elsewhere to become more conversant with the issues Flannery covers so well.

The Weather Makers describes the many effects human activities have had on our planetary climate, beginning with the development of agriculture and proceeding on to the most recent headlines. Flannery analyzes the probabilities of catastrophic climate changes, stressing that this is not really a question of "If" but "When." He is alarming but not alarmist, not stooping to the level of "The Day After Tomorrow" for example, but also making it clear that even though drastic weather changes will not happen tomorrow, they certainly will within our life times and those of our children unless action is taken.

Flannery is clear about what action needs to be taken. Although not overly enthusiastic about the Kyoto Accord, for example, he does herald it as a good first step.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful By John L. Langhus on February 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I picked this book up in the Sydney airport in November while on vacation. Upon return home, I learned that it was not yet published in the US, so ordered 10 copies from Australia. I have given copies to friends and family, colleagues and elected officials. Without wanting to seem excessively dramatic, this book has changed my life.

I had always considered global climate change (GCC) to be one of several important environmental issues. What Flannery does more than anything is synthesize the dramatic developments that have occured in climate science, just in the past few years. He points out that most of us think about GCC in the same terms and from the same limited understanding that we had many years ago when the issue first entered public consciousness. In the meantime, the science has evolved significantly, and with that evolution of understanding, the news has become worse. Since reading the book, I have embarked on a crash reading program on GCC issues and now share Flannery's view that this is not only THE environmental issue, it is THE issue. Many issues are important, but how we deal with them will likely not matter much if we do not seriously address the threat of climate change.

This book is well-written and reads easily. It is accessible and informative to scientists and non-scientists alike (I am a mere lawyer, in fact), and would make a terrific contribution to high school or college level syllabi.

Buy a copy, but you may want to buy two, since you will undoubtedly want to pass it on when you are finished.
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