The Winds of Change by Eugene Linden
Climate, Weather, and the Destruction of Civilizations

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"The Winds of Change" places the horrifying carnage unleashed on New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama by Hurricane Katrina in context.Climate has been humanity's constant, if moody, companion. At times benefactor or tormentor, climate nurtured the first stirrings of civilization and then repeatedly visited ruin on empires and peoples. Eugene Linden reveals a recurring pattern in which civilizations become prosperous and complacent during good weather, only to collapse when climate changes -- either through its direct effects, such as floods or drought, or indirect consequences, such as disease, blight, and civil disorder.The science of climate change is still young, and the interactions of climate with other historical forces are much debated, but the evidence mounts that climate loomed over the fate of societies from arctic Greenland to the Fertile Crescent and from the lost cities of the Mayans in Central America to the rain forests of Central Africa. Taking into account the uncertainties in both science and the historical record, Linden explores the evidence indicating that climate has been a serial killer of civilizations. "The Winds of Change" looks at the present and then to the future to determine whether the accused killer is on the prowl, and what it will do in the future.The tragedy of New Orleans is but the latest instance in which a region prepared for weather disasters experienced in the past finds itself helpless when nature ups the ante. In the closing chapters, Linden explores why warnings about the dangers of climate change have gone unheeded and what is happening with climate today, and he offers perhaps the most explicit look yet at what a haywire climate might do to us. He shows how even a society prepared to absorb such threshold-crossing events as Katrina, the killer heat wave in Europe in 2003, or the floods in the American Midwest in the 1990s can spiral into precipitous decline should such events intensify and become more frequent."The Winds of Change" places climate change, global warming, and the resulting instability in historical context and sounds an urgent warning for the future.

About Eugene Linden

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Award winning journalist Eugene Linden is the author of books, articles and essays about science, technology and the environment. He has written a thought provoking, insightful book, "The Future in Plain Sight: Nine Clues to the Coming Instability" (1998). In this book, Linden presents the thesis that rapid change is eminent and evident in climate conditions, the spread of infectious disease, volatile economic conditions, loss of biodiversity and other clues. The reader is then projected to 2050 as Linden presents the consequences of this instability. Somewhat of a doomsayer, the author's vision is not a pretty one: lethal plagues, deadly famine, catastrophic storms, economic collapse and more. But in the final analysis, some small hope is offered. "Over the millennia, humanity has proved to be an artful dodger of fate, a defier of limits, a surmounter of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and a master escape artist from traps laid by nature. Only the very brave or fool hardy would assert flatly that our resourceful species has finally exhausted its bag of tricks. Still, it is very late in the game." Other books by Linden include "Apes, Men and Language" (1974), "The Alms Race: the Impact of American Voluntary Aid Abroad" (1976), "Affluence and Discontent: the Anatomy of Consumer Societies" (1979), and "Silent Partners: the Legacy of the Ape Language Experiments" (1986), a New York Times notable book. Linden has been writing for Time magazine since 1987. Some of his award winning cover stories are "Doomed" (1995) exploring endangered tigers, "Megacities" (1993), dealing with overpopulation and "The World's Last Eden" (1992) about rain forest destruction. The author is a frequent guest on radio and television shows from Firing Line to Good Morning America and a contributor to a wide range of periodicals from The Wall Street Journal to National Geographic. .
Published June 26, 2007 by Simon & Schuster. 336 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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In this cautionary tale, journalist Linden lays out evidence that climate change is the culprit behind the demise of previous civilizations.

Feb 07 2006 | Read Full Review of The Winds of Change: Climate,...

The New York Times

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These two overlapping new books do their best to intrigue and galvanize the armchair climatologist.

Feb 27 2006 | Read Full Review of The Winds of Change: Climate,...

Publishers Weekly

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Linden, who has been writing about the environment for 20 years (The Future in Plain Sight ), is angry that, despite compelling scientific consensus, American politicians aren't facing up to the climate change that is upon us, and he's frustrated that the public isn't forcing them to do so.

Nov 28 2005 | Read Full Review of The Winds of Change: Climate,...


Linden looks at climate change from an historical perspective and demonstrates that from early Mesopotamia through the Mayan empire through India during the Raj, climate changes have ignited dramatic and powerful societal and political changes.

Aug 27 2007 | Read Full Review of The Winds of Change: Climate,...

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