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The Complete Ice Age: How Climate Change Shaped the World Hardcover – 12 Oct 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson (12 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500051615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500051610
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 0.3 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 655,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'An especially valuable resource' --School Science Review

'Colourful, concise and with lots of up-to-date science, this book hits the spot' --BBC Focus

'Exciting, colourful and stimulating'
--The Scotsman

'I had a thoroughly enjoyable few hours reading this book'
--British Archaeology

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stewart M TOP 500 REVIEWER on 9 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Although this book is about past climate change, it is a really valuable read for those interested in the current climate debate.

The processes that lead to the formation of ice ages are not really well understood, and seem to be a combination of many factors. But one thing is very clear - that the world's climatic systems are sensitive to changes, and even seemingly small alterations to the factors that control climate can lead to significant change. This is true for both global cooling and global warming. In part, this is why climate change modeling is so difficult.

While the imminent threat of a new global ice age seems to have passed, we have to ask the question about the role of deep solar cycles in our climate. If these cycles should be cooling us at this time, but our actions are instead causing the world to warm, we will be in real trouble in the future (or possible more trouble!)if theses factors decline.

For a book with four authors it manages to maintain a very consistent tone and it is not really clear when the authorship of a chapter changes. The book is also lavishly illustrated, although at times some of the images do stray a little too close to "Boys Big Books of Wondrous Stuff" type dioramas at times. However, the illustrations are valuable and their sheer numbers make this a much shorter read than the 200+ pages would suggest.

Each section of the book is excellent, and the sections on Neanderthal people and the animals of the Ice have great appeal.

If you are interested in current climate change, I would suggest this is an excellent book to give an introduction to the climate of the recent (geologically speaking) past. Recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nick Candoros on 30 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well, I have mixed feelings about the book. It is true that Ice Ages are a popular subject, and not only to paleontology lovers. Their occurrence in, geologically speaking, recent time, have left marks on the Earth we can follow and study. Rocks, landscapes, plant and animal fossils (including a good record of human ones), clues from geology, physics, biology, all have helped us to form quite a rich portrait of this most crucial and interesting period in the planet's history.

The book offers an all-around picture of the various data, theories, facts and controversies, concerning the climate rollercoaster which created the pattern of glacials and interglacials. It examines the geological record of plate tectonics and the consequences on the climate and then goes on with a quite detailed analysis of the hows and whys of whole ecosystems going berserk. It offers a picture of all life (animal and human) and how it coped with the challenges posed by a very hostile environment and, in the last chapter, gives a dire warning about severe climate change in the near future and its negative outcome for human life, mainly due to our activities in the past 200 years - industrial revolution, global warming etc.

All this is well and good, but I think that, because the book's sections were written by different authors, the reader gets an uneven result. Everything is kept as simple as possible, but a little more science would not hurt, and it certainly would clarify some issues. The "Ice Age Bestiary" chapter was good and to the point.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Ice Ages and Global Warming tied together, making sense 16 Dec. 2009
By Michael A. Starsheen - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Complete Ice Age: How Climate Change Shaped the World is an anthology of articles on the latest theories of how the Ice Ages began, ran their course, and warmed into interglacials, such as our current one. Brian Fagan, the editor, has written a number of very accessible books that combines the detailed paleoclimate data scientists have brought out of the study of global warming, and expertly combines them with archaeological data to show climate's influence on what happened. Here, he draws in specialist colleagues to look at different aspects of how the last Ice Age took shape, ended, and affected the growth of humankind into our modern forms.

The book concludes with a look at the potential effects of global warming, and how it fits into the natural cycle of Ice Ages and interglacials that have been the norm for several million years now. The book is thus a look back, using the latest and best knowledge we have, and the use of that knowledge to look forward, at a potential future. I would recommend it equally to those interested in archaeology and in global warming.

The book is lavishly illustrated with color photographs and drawings that help the reader follow along with the discussions at hand. It is a great read.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Good introduction to natural history over the last 2 million years 21 May 2011
By Watson McFestus - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are interested in a decent or quality primer on the Ice Age or the Pleistocene era this book is a good purchase. It is written so that the average person could understand the basics. If you are already familiar with this period it would be more of a marginal purchase. Lavishly and well illustrated with informative charts, and artists renderings.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Excellent overview 3 Jun. 2011
By Roald Euller - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought Ice Age was just an excellent book. I read it conjunction with Brian Fagan's The Long Summer and I preferred Ice Age. I felt that The Long Summer contained a great deal of gratuitous filler about how people might have hunted, might have farmed, might have lived, etc. I prefer my non fiction a bit less speculative, and Ice Age fit the bill perfectly in this regard. In particular, the chapters on the history, causes, and magnitude of climate change authored by Mark Maslin were models of clarity and conciseness. Admittedly Ice Age is an overview aimed at a lay audience and probably wouldn't satisfy the needs of academics, but for me it merits five stars.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Real Climate Change 7 Jan. 2013
By Dusty - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought three of these little books. All tell the same story from different perspectives. They make a great set. Read all three! The reality of the patterns of warmth and cooling of the Earth. They were easy to read; did not like the politically correct hammering of carbon dioxide chapters at the end of each.
A good introduction 13 May 2014
By Ausie Boy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I must admit this is a good book but I did not read too many pages before I closed it forever. This book provides a good introduction to the ice age, the chapters are well thought and informative, and there are plenty of photographs and drawings to support the text. For me though, it was simplistic and would suit a high school student or an adult without much scientific background.
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