When Indonesia's Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, it unleashed the most destructive wave of extreme weather the world has witnessed in thousands of years. The volcano's massive sulfate dust cloud enveloped the Earth, cooling temperatures and disrupting major weather systems for more than three years. Amid devastating storms, drought, and floods, communities worldwide endured famine, disease, and civil unrest on a catastrophic scale. On the eve of the bicentenary of the great eruption, Tambora tells the extraordinary story of the weather chaos it wrought, weaving the latest climate science with the social history of this frightening period to offer a cautionary tale about the potential tragic impacts of drastic climate change in our own century.
The year following Tambora's eruption became known as the "Year without a Summer," when weather anomalies in Europe and New England ruined crops, displaced millions, and spawned chaos and disease. Here, for the first time, Gillen D'Arcy Wood traces Tambora's full global and historical reach: How the volcano's three-year climate change regime initiated the first worldwide cholera pandemic, expanded opium markets in China, set the stage for Ireland's Great Famine, and plunged the United States into its first economic depression. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein's monster, inspired by Tambora's terrifying storms, embodied the fears and misery of global humanity during this transformative period, the most recent sustained climate crisis the world has faced.
Bringing the history of this planetary emergency grippingly to life, Tambora sheds light on the fragile interdependence of climate and human societies, and the threat a new era of extreme global weather poses to us all.
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It's not what you think
It is interesting to hear about this major volcanic eruption from 200 years ago and its startling affect on world events. The reader however sounds like he is reciting a zip code directory. That's not a bad thing overall because the book talks very little about the actual eruption and subsequent effects in the local area. The book becomes a depressing advertisement for the problems of current global warming.
The ending comes about in the first two chapters. The rest of the book is a long explanation of all the similar weather events that occurred the 3 years following the eruption. There were some interesting and probable inferences with world health conditions but again very little about the actual eruption and the local area. This is to be expected because it occurred at a time and place with little opportunity to record the event. I was hoping for more information that may have been discovered since the eruption. There was a little in one chapter.
It seemed to be a very monotone recitation. Perhaps a different narrator with more emotion would have made the book more enjoyable. As it was I had to force myself to continue to listen to it even though I was intellectually curious about the topic.
Yes, I won't erupt next time I'm in south east Asia.
I was hopeful about this book but ended up being a bit disappointed. I would encourage an interested person to listen to the whole preview and decide if you can handle listening to an entire book that sounds the same.
- thebladerunner "thebladerunner"
An unexpected pleasure
I didn't really know what to expect from this book. What I discovered was an interesting and engaging story of the global impacts following the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815. This book is not just about the actual eruption, which was the largest in recent history, but about the subsequent global weather impacts that was connected to a cholera outbreak, political upheaval, famine. It was the links to things such as literature (for example Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein") that made this book a truly remarkable expose on the existence of global connections even two centuries ago. In short, this book was fascinating and interesting, even if it was unexpected.