For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death
The Impact of America's First Climate Crisis
  • John V. H. Dippel
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Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death. The Impact of America's First Climate Crisis
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Almost 200 years ago the Northeast endured a dramatic, devastating series of cold spells, destroying crops, forcing thousand to migrate west, and causing many to wonder if their assumptions about a world governed by a beneficial Providence were valid. The so-called "year without a summer" also exposed weaknesses in political and theological authorities, spurring a trend toward scientific inquiry and greater democracy. An endangered New England agriculture gave impetus to that region's manufacturing sector. The alarming threat to existence in that part of the country (as well as most of Western Europe) thus helped usher in the modern era. This book is written with the parallels between 1816 and our current "climate change" in mind: it introduces informed non-specialists to the myriad of social, psychological, political, demographic, and economic consequences which can be brought about by abrupt climate change.

About the Author

John V. H. Dippel has published two books with Algora, Race to the Frontier: White Flight and Westward Expansion (2005) and Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death — The Impact of America's First Climate Crisis (2015).

He is also author of Two Against Hitler, Bound Upon a Wheel of Fire, and War and Sex. In addition, his articles on political affairs have appeared in such publications as The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, and The New Leader.

A graduate of Princeton University, John Dippel also holds advanced degrees from Trinity College, Dublin, and Columbia University. After having resided for many years in New York's historic Hudson Valley, he now lives in northwest Connecticut.

 

About the Book

A major meteorological event profoundly affected our nation's development in 1816. This book shows how this weather phenomenon acted as an accelerator of trends which were just emerging in the early 19th-century: a trend toward greater...

A major meteorological event profoundly affected our nation's development in 1816. This book shows how this weather phenomenon acted as an accelerator of trends which were just emerging in the early 19th-century: a trend toward greater democracy and the spread of information; settlement of the Western frontier; use of the scientific method to investigate and understand natural phenomena; questioning of long-held religious beliefs as a result of increased knowledge; and industrialization as the means to expand the scope and wealth of the United States.

Like all my books, America's First Climate Crisis is written in an accessible, engaging style, using anecdotes and thumbnail sketches to evoke the mood and important personalities of the day. While thoroughly researched, the book avoids the pitfalls of academic writing, and letters and diary entries add a warm tone to a very chilly narrative.

The book is organized around various consequences of the disastrous harvests of 1816: after outlining the nature and scope of this calamity, I describe how it brought about a massive exodus to the Ohio Valley and shift in political and economic might to that region; how it undermined the once-unquestioned authority of New England's Federalist establishment; how it gave greater credence to scientific explanations for weather events and disasters; how it compelled New England merchants to abandon their opposition to manufacturing; and how it helped create a modern awareness of humanity's place in the universe.


Reviews
Jim Hansen, leading climate scientist | More »
Gillen D\'Arcy Wood, author of: Tambora | More »
Brian Fagan, author of: The Little Ice Age, and The Attacking Ocean | More »
Richard Buel, Jr., author of: America on the Brink | More »

Pages 224
Year: 2015
BISAC: HISTORY / United States / 19th Century
BISAC: SCIENCE / Global Warming, Climate Change
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-117-3
Price: USD 22.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-1-62894-118-0
Price: USD 32.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-1-62894-119-7
Price: USD 22.95
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