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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 20 February 2008
This is a book written by astrophysicists for laymen. It is important for one reason: it offers compelling evidence that the sky is not harmless as one might think. On the contrary, there are multiple comet swarms, which are huge concentration of comets, wandering in the space. The Earth has had frequent encounters with them in the past and another is probably due in the near future.

The book starts with a graphic description of a fictional encounter between the Earth and a comet swarm. A 20 megaton comet impacts Nevada. Mistaking it with a nuclear strike from the Soviet Union, the US launches multiple nuclear missiles in retaliation. In the mean time, another hundred-megaton impact hits Belgium, wiping out the country and devastating much of Europe. A shower of smaller comet debris also peppers much of the Earth. When the Earth finally emerges from the swarm, much of its surface is in ruin.

After ensuring that your attention is sufficiently captured by this story, the authors go about presenting the evidence for their case. In part I, they gather various clues from myths and legends around the world that point to catasphophes in the past. What is interesting here is that they show that the Gods from the myths were probably not products of fiction but comets during a very active periods. They did move around in the sky and interfere in worldly affairs through their deadly bombardments.

Part II is where the meat of the book is. Here, the authors summarize the current scientific knowledge about comets and present it in a very accessible way. Of particular significance is information about the Taurid meteor stream, whose path the Earth crosses at the end of June and early November each year. This meteor stream is responsible for the Tunguska impact at the beginning of the last century, the Bruno crater on the moon (whose impact energy is on the order of 100,000 megatons) and numerous other impacts in the past.

Finally, a risk assessment wraps up the book. For from being negligible, it is calculated that the probability of an impact in as short a period as a human lifetime is at a few percent. What's worse, they tend to be concentrated into brief periods with multiple impacts, whose result is likely to be another Dark Age.

After reading this book, one cannot help but wonder why such information is not more widely known, and what effect public awareness of this might have on the current status quo. Wouldn't it stop the bogus "war on terror"? Wouldn't it make people immediately demand something be done to mitigate the threat? Such contemplations, with all their implications, make it all the more important that this book be read by as many people as possible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2008
If you have a chance to get hold of this book, do so, because it seems to be disappearing! The English version, at least, is becoming extremely hard to get hold of at anything like a sensible price. Someone obviously doesn't want this book to be widely circulated, and a concerted effort seems to be going on to hide away the important information within. And when you read the book it is obvious why: the data collected here upsets the applecart of 'establishment' cosmology, and provides some really interesting and important possibilities that simply do NOT sit well with current thinking. It is also clear that there would be political motivations for keeping a lid on this material.

This is a remarkable book that just goes to show how much happens in the world of science that is kept behind closed doors; how much hugely important research goes on around the edges of accepted cosmology; and how much data IS available that provides robust alternatives to the mainstream 'popularly held views' of science.

The underlying theme of the book is the tracing of cyclic terrestrial disturbances through myth, social history, archaeology, and then the examination of how events on the earth are linked to our cosmological environment. A robust case is built for the periodic atmospheric disturbance of the earth as it encounters asteroidal material. This is not so much the single hollywood-style 'dinosaur killer' giant asteroids, but rather more likely to be composed of orbitting bands of fragmented cometary remains, through which the earth periodically passes. It is further postulated that these comets are sourced from periodic disturbances of the Oort cloud.

The resulting implication is that, rather than evenly and sparsely distributed catastrophic 'single events' (such as the one that is proposed to haved wiped out the dinosaurs) it is far more likely that there are periods of relative quiet, and other periods which contain 'clumps' of numerous impact events, and that it is the cumulative effect of many impacts over a relatively short period that can have a huge effect on the global environment, and is in fact far more likely to do so because there is a greater probability of a 'hit'.

The book then takes us into the current era, and examines the data surrounding the Taurid meteor stream (from which the Tunguska impact is proposed to have come), and the likelihood that it is made up of one or more comet-fragment clouds, (similar to the fragmented Shomaker-Levy comet that impacted on Jupiter in several large pieces), and proposes what else we are likely to expect in the way of future impacts from this highly dense band of interplanetary material through which we pass twice a year.

The scientific and social implications of this book are huge. And it is also a great read, putting the results of serious and detailed scientific study well within reach of the layman. Read it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2008
"The Cosmic Winter" is the one of the most important works by Clube and Napier, close to as being an expansion of their first book, "The Cosmic Serpent." In "The Cosmic Winter," with 280 pages and seventeen chapters, the authors bring forth the role of impact events in creating the cosmic "winters" and the further discussion of the mythological sky gods as evidence of comets in our prehistory era and a look at cometary events towards the present era.

As one first read the beginning of this book in a prologue chapter, there will be an experience of a fictional encounter between the Earth and a cometary bombardment and how the United States government would react. Then, the authors pointed out that "a great illusion of cosmic security thus envelopes mankind, one that the 'establishment' of Church, State and Academe do nothing to disturb. Persistence in such an illusion will do nothing to alleviate the next Dark Age when it arrives" (p 12-3). There's nothing further from the truth!

There are three parts of this book, with first part being concerned with the mythologies as the history of comets, such as "sky gods" were being comets in disguises. And, they were seen by ancient human beings in our prehistory periods and they may have misinterpreted these comets as "gods." Towards the end of this first part, the authors stated that "swarms of asteroids periodically exist in Earth-crossing orbits and that these are responsible for producing an erratic sequence of cosmic winters, sudden coolings of the globe" (p. 127), which is important to keep in mind.

The Part Two reveals the essential scientific knowledge about the comets and how they can be the cause of "terrestrial" catastrophe as well a look at the periodic meteoroid streams (where Earth passes through late June and Early November annually). The authors further their discussion on Comet Encke, the Tunguska event of 1908, ancient comets as depicted in Chinese records (e.g., symbols), and more on historical comets in our prehistory yet they were being ignored. The authors also mentioned that "our distant ancestors...have been telling us in simple language that celestial catastrophe has struck, probably more than once, but the message has been lost through the ravages of time" (p. 192).

The final part of this book brings more focus on the scientific evidence of the cosmic events, such as geological, sea-level variations, fossil, ice cores, iridium, Earth's magnetic field, and the cratering record. And, the final chapter brings home a point of how serious a cosmic impact hazard really is and how likely that our civilization would be "plunged into a New Dark Age." Will the human race become extinct?

This book became very difficult to obtain and one has to wonder why there are such a shortage of copies of this most important work, and it is a must read for everyone.

The authors ended "The Cosmic Winter" with one very simple yet most critical line:

"There is a need for this book."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2008
Victor Clube's book, "The Cosmic Winter," is a book of inestimable importance to everyone on this planet. I strongly urge readers to write to the publisher and request a new printing since it is obvious that few people can afford the high prices for the few copies left in circulation. It is also obvious that those people who do have copies, aren't letting them out of their hands which should suggest to the reader how good and important this book is.

I first became aware of this book when a friend sent me a copy of a paper addressed to the European Office of Aerospace Research and development, dated June 4, 1996, entitled: The Hazard to Civilization from Fireballs and Comets by S.V.M. Clube. (For the uninitiated, Clube was an astrophysicist at the University of Oxford).

In this short (4 pages) letter and summary statement, Clube writes:

"Asteroids which pass close to the Earth have been fully recognized by mankind for only about 20 years. Previously, the idea that substantial unobserved objects might be close enough to be a potential hazard to the Earth was treated with as much derision as the unobserved aether. Scientists of course are in business to establish broad principles (eg relativity) and the Earth's supposedly uneventful, uniformitarian environment was already very much in place. The result was that scientists who paid more than lip service to objects close enough to encounter the Earth did so in an atmosphere of barely disguised contempt. Even now, it is difficult for laymen to appreciate the enormity of the intellectual blow with which most of the Body Scientific has recently been struck and from which it is now seeking to recover."

I stopped right there and asked myself: Hmmm... just what intellectual blow is he talking about here? After a bit of thought, it occurred to me that he must be talking about the Comet Shoemaker-Levy fragment impacts on Jupiter which produced a huge amount of excitement at the time which was just two years before the date of this letter. To return to Clube's report, he continues:

"The present report, then, is concerned with those other celestial bodies recorded by mankind since the dawn of civilization which either miss or impinge upon the Earth and which have also been despised. Now known respectively as comets (>1 kilometre in size) and meteoroids (<10>"

That he immediately switched from asteroids to comets seems to confirm my speculation that he was talking about Shoemaker-Levy. But it gets more interesting:

"Confronted on many occasions in the past by the prospect of world-end, national elites have often found themselves having to suppress public panic - only to discover, too late, that the usual means of control commonly fail. Thus an institutionalized science is expected to withhold knowledge of the threat; a self-regulated press is expected to make light of any disaster; while an institutionalized religion is expected to oppose predestination and to secure such general belief in a fundamentally benevolent deity as can be mustered. [...]

"(B) The present report based on the above grant addresses a variety of issues within the broad context of the hazard to civilization due to fireballs and comets. It consists of:

"(1) A brief statement of conclusions arising from a narrative report (3 copies);

"(2) A narrative report (with appendix) linking the results of three scientific studies described in papers submitted to mainstream journals (3 copies)

"(3) The relevant papers detailing the results which arise through the granted funds due to (a) Clube; (b) Clube & Napier; and (c) Clube, Holye, Napier & Wickramasinghe (3 copies; and

"(4) A co-authored foundation paper by Asher & Clube detailing the results from which items (3) and (2) progressed.

"It is emphasized here that the present report expresses a viewpoint which is contrary to the mainstream scientific theme currently reinforced through various US agencies in the wake of recent major findings under US leadership...

"Despite the importance of this mainstream theme, it is recognized here that the cometary signatures in the terrestrial record are generally stronger than the asteroidal signatures in the case of both long term and short term effects i.e. those affecting biological and geological evolution on the one hand and mankind and civilization on the other..[...]

"There are fundamental paradoxes to be assimilated as a result of this unexpected situation. Thus the perceived culture of enterprise and enlightenment which underpins the two centuries culminating with the Space Age and which led mankind to spurn comets and fireballs may now be seen as the prelude to a profound paradigm shift: the restoration of an environmental outlook more in keeping with that which preceded American Independence and which paid serious heed to comets and fireballs."

Clube's reference to the "mainstream scientific" ideas about comets and asteroids and so on is only the tip of the iceberg in reference to this debate.

The debate is about asteroids vs. comets. Asteroids are solid bodies of rock and there are about 1000 of them with diameters of 1 km or more that cross the orbit of the earth. They are called "Apollo" or "earth crossing" asteroids. The "American School" of astronomers believe that these objects are the main threat to earth and humanity and they are concerned with finding them, tracking them, and working out their orbits. This school believes that if all these asteroids can be mapped, and any "bad ones" dealt with, Earth will be safe for the foreseeable future. Their estimates are that we only get hit with one of these babies about every 100,000 years or so.

At this point in time, the American school of astronomers has already found and tracked about 700 of the estimated 1000 such asteroids and, so far, none of them are likely to hit the earth anytime soon. By the end of 2008, they expect to have located 90% of these potential threats.

Of course, they aren't talking about objects smaller than 1 km because they are believed to pose much less risk even if they do smack into the earth.

So it is that the "American School" believes that they can, over time and with superior American technology, survey everything around us and keep our space in space "under control."

What they are saying, as Baillie astutely points out is this: There are objects that cross the path of the earth but they hardly ever hit us (only about every 100,000 years), but they are going to make us safe by finding any and all of them and devising methods to take out the ones that MIGHT pose a threat at any point in the future. They assume, of course, that if they figure out that any of them might be a threat by mapping their orbits, they will have time to do this.

In "Asteroid Astronomer World" there have not been any serious impacts in the last few thousand years, for sure, and they are going to see to it that it stays that way!

How typically American! Don't you worry, little Lady, John Wayne and his gang will circle the wagons and shoot up those redskins/outlaws!

It's obvious that Victor Clube is not a member of the American School.

The "Comet Hazard" school is British based and they think very differently from the American "mainstream" asteroid school.

Comets are said to be different from asteroids because they are made up of water ice, frozen gas, organic materials, and odd bits of rock and metal. The standard theory (which may need revision according to those who advocate the electric universe theory) says that comets are heated as they pass through the solar system and this causes outgassing. It is then that we see them as bright objects with long tails.

After a few circuits through the solar system, some comets "outgas" completely and all that is left is a "very black lump" of any size, typically at least a few kilometers in diameter. The reason a worn out comet is so black is possibly due to the poly-aromatic-hydrocarbons that are concentrated onto the comet's surface like a coating of tar. Such objects, unlike asteroids, are very difficult to spot because they do not reflect light.

Comets also leave trails of dust and debris in the inner solar system and the Earth passes through such periodically. When this happens, there are generally meteor showers which are really particles of comets burning up in the atmosphere.

Comets can also break up in to smaller - but still sizable - chunks.

Now, imagine that in a trail of comet dust, there are also some fairly large chunks of black, un-seeable, comet fragments. If you can't see them, you can't do anything about them. And when they do "hit," they tend to burn up and/or explode violently in the atmosphere (eg Tunguska event), so they don't leave long-lasting traces such as craters for archaeologists to find and say "Yes, the fall of this civilization was due to an assault from outer space." No, there is only fire, death and destruction; sometimes total.

What all this means is that the comet problem does not submit itself to an efficient solution.

The Comet Hazard school scientists propose that the Tunguska event was due to a fragment of Comet Encke. These scientists also now have the FACT of the fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy hitting Jupiter in July of 1994 to illustrate the problem we face. The Comet Hazard scientists also think, as mentioned above, that impacts are a lot more frequent than many people suppose.

So, to sum it up: there are two very different schools that study hazards from space. The Asteroid school says that there have been very few impacts and the problem is solvable, and the Comet school says there is evidence that there have been numerous impacts by comet debris that have had profound effects on human civilizations, and will again, probably very soon.

This is what The Cosmic Winter is about. Victor Clube writes:

"Asteroid strikes, though important, are not the most serious short-term risk to mankind or civilization

"Every 5-10 generations or so, for about a generation, mankind is subject to an increased risk of global insult through another kind of cosmic agency.

"This cosmic agency is a "Shoemaker-Levy type" train of cometary debris resulting in sequences of terrestrial encounters with sub-km meteoroids.

"While the resulting risk is ~ 10%, the global insults take the form of (a) multiple multi-megaton bombardment, (b) climatic deterioration through stratospheric dust-loading, not excluding ice-age, and (c) consequent uncontrolled disease/plague.

"The sequence of events affecting involved generations is potentially debilitating because, whether or not the risk is realised, civilization commonly undergoes violent transitions eg revolution, migration and collapse.

"Subsequently perceived as pointless, such transitions are commonly an embarrassment to national elites even to the extent that historical and astronomical evidence of the risk are abominated and suppressed.

"Upon revival of the risk, however, such "enlightenment" becomes an inducement to violent transition since historical and astronomical evidence are then in demand.

"Such change and change about in addition to the insult is evidently self-defeating and calls for a procedure to eliminate the risk.

"Our technological ability to counter (a) multiple multi-megaton bombardment and (b) stratospheric dust-loading should therefore be explored.

"The very short lead-time commonly associated with the detection of sum-km meteoroids approaching the Earth implies countering procedures which differ from those associated with catalogued km-plus asteroids and comets."

So, the question is: if there is even a 10% chance that we are facing a Shoemaker-Levy type event, why isn't anybody doing anything about it?

Well... maybe they are. Maybe all this War on Terror business and getting control of resources is, at its root, the psychopath's way of handling a threat to their survival. On the other hand, maybe they really are ignoring the signs and the data? Maybe they really do think that impact events only happen every hundreds of thousands of years and we aren't at risk? I don't think so because it is clear that there is deliberate suppression of news stories about cometary explosions in the atmosphere and even land impacts.

Clube also provides one of the most rational explanations for the creation and development of religions, astrology, magic, etc, I have ever read.

Read The Cosmic Winter and decide for yourself. After all, if the Dinosaurs had had a decent space program and had been aware of asteroid and comet impacts, they would still be here.
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on 25 March 2012
Clube and Napier present a remarkable and deeply thought provoking study of the historical appearance of astronomical phenomena and their relation to, and in some cases their quite literal impact on, our planet. Specifically, the authors discuss at length the influence on human history of comets, meteors, fireballs and other phenomena coming from the sky.

This book should be read by anyone who is at all interested in the history of life on our planet, and the prospects for our future. If Clube and Napier are correct - and their case is convincing - then various areas of the Earth are regularly visited by catastrophes that descend on us from space. These catastrophes, which can be localized or global in scope, are brought to our door by the agency of cometary bodies of varying sizes. The authors cite historical eye-witness evidence from cultures as diverse in time and space as China, Greece, Sumer, Europe and Britain.

In a fascinating section of the book, the authors discuss the origins of modern horoscopic astrology. The authors' evidence and discussion makes it clear that what we know today as astrology is simply a bastardized version of Babylonian omen-based 'astrology', which should be more correctly considered as deductions and predictions based on careful observations of the movements of heavenly bodies, and studies of phenomena on earth related to these bodies.

In their preface to the book, the authors write: 'Readers of The Cosmic Winter should be warned: much of what they may have regarded as well-established truth will, in these pages, turn a somersault.'

And that really sums up this book. The cometary hypothesis is completely missing from the history we were taught about in school and college, but seen through the lens of this theory - not to mention evidence, both written and pictorial - things suddenly make a new kind of sense. We can now see how fragile life on this planet really is under the threat of catastrophes from space.

At the end of the book, the authors comment on the tendency of academics and scientists to dismiss the catastrophist view of history, and to promote the stable, predictable view of the solar system and the galaxy:

'There is considerable intellectual capital invested in serving the status quo, enough to ensure that those with an interest in preserving it, the 'enlightened' and the 'established', will continue to present the cosmos to us in a suitably non-violent form. The history of ideas reveals that some will even go further and act as a kind of thought police, whipping potential deviants into line. For them, temporal power takes precedence over the fate of the species.

There is a need for this book.'

Indeed there is. Highly recommended.
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on 26 May 2013
This is a must-read book for anyone interested in discovering the links between
comet impacts/near misses and the history of collapses in civilisations.
The other reviews give a detailed summary of the evidence.
The problem is finding this book at an affordable price -I came across a
free e-read at scribd.com.
I would also recommend books by the dendrochronologist, Mike Baillie -"From exodus to Arthur", and his book linking the plague to comets.
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