Author(s): William K Klingaman
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.
"Many people in North America and Europe believed that the freezing summer of 1816 foretold the end of the world. Unaware that the invisible ash cloud that spread round the world from a volcanic eruption in Indonesia caused the aberrant weather, they thought the sun was dying. William Klingaman vividly portrays the myths and realities of that terrifying season." --James M. McPherson, Pulitzer-Prize-winning and "New York Times" bestselling author of "Battle Cry of Freedom, Crossroads of Freedom, Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution," and "For Cause and Comrades""When a volcanic eruption on a Pacific island swathed the earth with droplets, producing freakish weather that ruined harvests all over the world, how did people react? William and Nicholas Klingaman tell us how the year without summer affected an astonishing variety of people on different continents, including rulers and peasants, working families, Jane Austen and Mary Shelley. A book like nothing you've read before." --Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of "What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation Of America""William K. Klingaman's groundbreaking work will forever alter the way we view the years immediately following the War of 1812. Beautifully written in prose that will excite both expert and layman, it tells the remarkable story-in superb detail-of how in April 1815 the severest volcanic eruption in 2000 years on Mount Tambora disrupted the earth's weather profoundly, and with it, the politics, economics, arts, and religious beliefs of an era. In every respect this is a marvelous book, impossible to put down." --George C. Daughan author of "1812: The Navy's War""Klingaman's vibrant narrative carries us from Indonesia to Ohio as it traces the global effects of the Mt. Tambora eruption. "The Year Without Summer" is as dexterous at explaining the science of climatology as it is at describing how the endless rain in Geneva figured into Byron's poetry or how New Englan
WILLIAM K. KLINGAMAN holds a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Virginia and has taught at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland. He is the author of six previous books, including histories of the years 1918, 1929, and 1941. NICHOLAS P. KLINGAMAN holds a Ph.D. in Meteorology from the University of Reading, where he is now a research scientist. His work focuses on investigating the effects of climate change on tropical weather patterns.