The Year Without Summer by William K. Klingaman
1816 and the Volcano That Darkened the World and Changed History

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Like Winchester's Krakatoa, The Year Without Summer reveals a year of dramatic global change long forgotten by history


In the tradition of Krakatoa, The World Without Us, and Guns, Germs and Steel comes a sweeping history of the year that became known as 18-hundred-and-froze-to-death. 1816 was a remarkable year—mostly for the fact that there was no summer. As a result of a volcanic eruption in Indonesia, weather patterns were disrupted worldwide for months, allowing for excessive rain, frost, and snowfall through much of the Northeastern U.S. and Europe in the summer of 1816.

In the U.S., the extraordinary weather produced food shortages, religious revivals, and extensive migration from New England to the Midwest. In Europe, the cold and wet summer led to famine, food riots, the transformation of stable communities into wandering beggars, and one of the worst typhus epidemics in history. 1816 was the year Frankenstein was written. It was also the year Turner painted his fiery sunsets. All of these things are linked to global climate change—something we are quite aware of now, but that was utterly mysterious to people in the nineteenth century, who concocted all sorts of reasons for such an ungenial season.

Making use of a wealth of source material and employing a compelling narrative approach featuring peasants and royalty, politicians, writers, and scientists, The Year Without Summer by William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P. Klingaman examines not only the climate change engendered by this event, but also its effects on politics, the economy, the arts, and social structures.


About William K. Klingaman

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WILLIAM K. KLINGAMAN has taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland. He is the author of six previous books, including narrative histories of the years 1918, 1929 and 1941. NICHOLAS P. KLINGAMAN holds a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Reading.
Published February 26, 2013 by St. Martin's Press. 351 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Oct 08 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year Without Summer: 1816...

The Daily Beast

It turned out to be a very convenient development for deniers of climate change, for they could then point to an apparent flattening of global temperatures in the early 1990s to discount Hansen’s assertion that man-made global warming had begun.

Mar 02 2013 | Read Full Review of The Year Without Summer: 1816...

Publishers Weekly

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In addition to releasing enough ash and pumice “to cover a square area one hundred miles on each side to a depth of almost twelve feet” and immediately killing more than 12,000 people, the blast rocketed enough sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere to “form more than 100 million tons of sulf...

Dec 03 2012 | Read Full Review of The Year Without Summer: 1816...

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