A dossier on a 550-year European cold snap compiled from tree rings, ice cores, and the accounts of country clergymen and gentlemen scientists. Do we make the weather, or does it make us?
Because the Arctic ice pack receded during the Medieval Warm Period, Fagan writes, the Vikings invaded Europe from England to Tuscany and even Constantinople. Because the Arctic ice pack receded the Atlantic cod moved north and provided a food source for regular trips to Greenland, which the Vikings then colonized. When the Arctic ice pack returned with the beginnings of the Little Ice Age, the trips ceased and the colonies died out or were absorbed by the Native population.
Drought in the middle of the Little Ice Age caused Spanish settlers to move their colony from South Carolina to Florida, which as Fagan puts it “may help explain why most people in the southeastern United States speak English rather than Spanish.”
We read this book on Book Talk Alaska in 2003 and got more calls than any other book before, with the exception of Eats, Shoots and Leaves. People always have an opinion on the weather and grammar.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.