This is a recent translation from German of a book originally published in 2007.
While this book is explicitly a history of climate, the author keeps a steady focus on the implications of the historical narrative for the present debate on global warming, about which he has some interesting thoughts.
The book naturally falls into two parts. The first several chapters cover climate history from the origins of the earth 4.6 billion years ago through the present. This is a decent overview although might be a little succinct if this is one's first encounter with this material. The charts and graphs do a good job of supporting the text. Behringer takes pains to point out that the earth is currently in the midst of a several million year long ice age characterized by 100,000 year cycles of glaciation alternating with shorter and warmer interglacials. At present we are getting towards the end of an interglacial, and all other things being equal, we should expect the onset of a new period of glaciation within a few thousand years.
The book devotes more time to the period since the last glacial maximum (LGM) then to the preceding periods, but this is consistent with the book's intended focus on human cultural response to changing climate. There is considerable material on the rise of the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations, and the impact of climate - particularly droughts - on their various crises and collapses. The book then continues through Roman times, the Middle Ages and up to the present. There is interesting material on German archeological sites reflecting the author's nationality. I had not seen much of this material before.
At about the midway point the book switches gears and becomes much more of a traditional "cultural history" with extensive discussion of clothing, food, painting, literature, music, and so forth, during the late medieval warm period and especially during the Little Ice Age from roughly 1300-1850. The author touches on one of his own research areas: perceptions of witches and witchcraft (who were subject to blame for bad weather). The book focuses on the ways in which culture explicitly reflected in climate (e.g. - the increase in winter landscape painting, winter fairs on the frozen Thames). While Behringer realizes that climate was not the sole underlying cause of the evolution of human culture during this period, he certainly wants to give it its full due as an important and somewhat underappreciated factor. Significantly for his conclusion, he tries to highlight how human beings have always reacted and adapted to climate change throughout history.
Much of the material in A Cultural History of Climate overlaps with several volumes authored by Brian Fagan, for example, The Long Summer (2004) and The Little Ice Age (2001). Behringer's style is more concrete, and he is little given to the rambling speculations characteristic of Fagan. I tended to prefer Behringer, although I have in general enjoyed Fagan's books, so it's really a matter of personal taste. Interestingly, I could only find a single reference to Fagan in Behringer's notes, despite the obvious overlap in material and subject matter. I am not aware of an academic rift or rivalry between the two, but since I am not hooked into historical circles that shouldn't count for much. I did find the omission a bit odd given the usual fastidiousness of German scholarship.
The author concludes by saying that the lesson history teaches us is this: Climate change has been a constant through human history. Humans have always adapted, whether during the post glacial warming, the Younger Dryass cold period, the successive droughts of the Mesopotamian/Egyptian period, and during the Little Ice Age. The current crisis is no different from earlier crises. Human society will adapt and change, as it always has. While he is not a climate change denier (in fact he readily acknowledges that the current warming is both well documented and likely of human origin), those who view climate collapse as imminent will not be completely satisfied with A Cultural History of Climate. However, that is the value a long, historical perspective.
The quality of the paperback is quite good. The paper is thick and I suspect it will not turn yellow or brittle over time. The cover is gorgeous, but then Hunters in the Snow is my all time favorite painting.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. If this topic broadly interests you, I suggest reading it in conjunction with any of several books by Brian Fagan, MacDougall's Frozen Earth, Alley's Two Mile Time Machine, or Mithen's After the Ice, to name just a few.