The Little Ice Age : How Climate Made History 1300-1850, Paperback

The Little Ice Age : How Climate Made History 1300-1850 Paperback

4 out of 5 (5 ratings)


The Little Ice Age tells the story of the turbulent, unpredictable, and often very cold years of modern European history, how this altered climate affected historical events, and what it means for today's global warming.

Building on research that has only recently confirmed that the world endured a 500year cold snap, renowned archaeologist Brian Fagan shows how the increasing cold influenced familiar events from Norse exploration to the settlement of North America to the Industrial Revolution.

This is a fascinating book for anyone interested in history, climate, and how they interact.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272 pages, maps
  • Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General & world history
  • ISBN: 9780465022724



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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

Account of the 500 year chill that swept the world. While the book is enjoyable, it shows more of the effect of the Chill on societies (mostly Western Europe) than the How bit. In that sense, the overview and evolution of life, farming, travel during the period was captivating, especially with regards to Dutch innovation in farming and Icelandic travels. To fulfill what the title promises, I would have liked more on the scientific underpinning of the Chill. Also, the link to the causes of la Revolution is a bit of a stretch.

Review by

Excellent book on the subject. A lot of detail on climate effects on fishing, politics, farming, broad economics and ecology. Excellent source for further study of the subject

Review by

Well written, highly interesting available to a wide range of readers.I am very impressed with the way the author kept to his subject and avoided trying to make climatic swings during this time period match up with historic swings from the Battle of Agincourt on. There are some spots where it is absolutely part of the climate to point out that weather did more damage to the Armada than did English ships. His willingness to attempt to show world weather rather than a strickly Eurocentric view is fine. I would highly recommend this book to those who believe in global warming blamable on man, as well as to those who believe that mankind has had nothing to do with it.

Review by

The Little Ice Age by Brian Fagan was really interesting. One of the many things he discusses is the influence of weather on art. It's almost a footnote to the book as a whole, but I found it very interesting to posit that you can measure climate changes by changes in art content, such as the number of winter scenes in certain centuries or the types of clouds that are being painted. It's very well written and though I didn't always agree with all of Fagan's conclusions, I did find it difficult to put this one down.

Review by
On several occasions between 1695 and 1728, inhabitants of the Orkney Islands off Northern Scotland were startled to see an Inuit in his kayak paddling off their coasts. On one memorable occasion, a kayaker came as far South as the river Don near Aberdeen. These solitary Arctic hunters had probably spent weeks marooned on large ice floes.Between the relative stability of the mediaeval and modern warm periods, came hundreds of years of climatic instability. The climate seesawed randomly between hot summers, cold winters, late frosts, cool summers, drought, famines due to excessive rainfall, land lost to encroaching glaciers sea surges or sand, and lots of volcanic activity. A fascinating study of how climate change affected everyday life, social change and historical events in Europe and the rest of the world.