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The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines [Paperback]

Michael Mann
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 Dec 2013
The ongoing assault on climate science in the United States has never been more aggressive, more blatant, or more widely publicized than in the case of the Hockey Stick graph -- a clear and compelling visual presentation of scientific data, put together by MichaelE. Mann and his colleagues, demonstrating that global temperatures have risen in conjunction with the increase in industrialization and the use of fossil fuels. Here was an easy-to-understand graph that, in a glance, posed a threat to major corporate energy interests and those who do their political bidding. The stakes were simply too high to ignore the Hockey Stick -- and so began a relentless attack on a body of science and on the investigators whose work formed its scientific basis. The Hockey Stick achieved prominence in a 2001 UN report on climate change and quickly became a central icon in the "climate wars." The real issue has never been the graph's data but rather its implied threat to those who oppose governmental regulation and other restraints to protect the environment and planet. Mann, lead author of the original paper in which the Hockey Stick first appeared, shares the story of the science and politics behind this controversy. He reveals key figures in the oil and energy industries and the media frontgroups who do their bidding in sometimes slick, sometimes bare-knuckled ways. Mann concludes with the real story of the 2009 "Climategate" scandal, in which climate scientists' emails were hacked. This is essential reading for all who care about our planet's health and our own well-being.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Reprint edition (13 Dec 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231152558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231152556
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 570,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Dr. Michael E. Mann is a member of the Penn State University faculty, holding joint positions in the Departments of Meteorology and Geosciences, and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC).

Dr. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. His research involves the use of theoretical models and observational data to better understand Earth's climate system.

Dr. Mann was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. He has received a number of honors and awards including NOAA's outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC authors in 2007. In 2012 he was inducted as a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union.

Dr Mann is author of more than 150 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books: Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming in 2008 and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines, due out in early 2012. He is also a co-founder and avid contributor to the award-winning website "".

Product Description


Very few people have sounded more important alarms about our climate future, and very few people have paid a higher price for doing so. Michael Mann is a hero, and this book is a remarkable account of the science and politics of the defining issue of our time. -- Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet A brilliant and courageous climatologist, Michael E. Mann knows what it's like to be viciously attacked by the well-funded deniers of scientific evidence and how critical it is to respond. In this gripping, personal, front-lines account of climate politics, he eloquently conveys the importance of both doing great science and communicating its societal implications to a wider public. -- Paul R. Ehrlich, coauthor of The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment Michael E. Mann has been the most important, resilient, and outspoken warrior in the climate battle, responding to threats and persecution with courage and resolve every step of the way. Anyone who cares about the climate issue must read his fascinating -- and enraging -- story. -- Chris Mooney, author of Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future Michael E. Mann presents his conviction that climate change is real and potentially deadly. A truly readable book on a topic that will remain evergreen. -- James Lovelock, author of The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity A must read to appreciate the endless disinformation campaign by climate change deniers at the highest levels of government and corporate America and the chilling yet serious implications of the crusade to discredit distinguished scientists like Michael E. Mann. -- Sherwood Boehlert, Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives 1983-- 2007 and former chairman of the House Science Committee As one of the nation's leading climate researchers, no one has felt the brunt of the attacks from politicians and the fossil fuel industry more than Michael E. Mann. This is his personal account from the center of the maelstrom, documenting the lies and distortions about his work and his heroic efforts to stand up for scientific truth. -- Henry Waxman, Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, former chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee In this meticulous and engaging brief on climate change research and the political backlash to legitimate scientific work, Penn State professor Mann narrates the fight against misinformation from the inside. Publishers Weekly 1/20/2012 An important and disturbing account of the fossil-fuel industry's well-funded public-relations campaign to sow doubt about the validity of the science of climate change...This blistering indictment of corporate-funded chicanery demands a wide audience. Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 2/1/2012 And if you read just one book on climate change, make it Michael E. Mann's riveting expose of disinformation and denial... Irish Times 12/31/2011 The best part, in my science-geeky opinion, is readers of this book will enjoy a dazzling, informative tour of the science underlying climatology and especially the analysis that went into the diagram that caused all the ruckus. -- DarkSyde Daily Kos 2/19/2012 A harrowing ride through the politics of truth and denial. -- Shawn Lawrence Otto Huffington Post 2/27/2012 ...this is a book you should read, because it clearly shows the contrast between how science works and how politics works. The difference is dramatic. And fateful. -- Ben Bova Naples Daily News 4/29/2012 Vitally important to all citizens of a warming planet Earth. -- James P. Lenfestey Star Tribune 4/15/2012 A must read for every serious student of climate change science, and gets my highest rating: five stars out of five. -- Jeff Masters Jeff Masters WunderGround Blog 5/16/2012 I heartily recommend this book for an unusually clear view of the action on the front line of climate science from one of its principle palaeoclimate protagonists. -- Colin Summerhayes Geoscientist June 2012 Mann deserves our respect and admiration for what he has been through and for his willingness to discuss it. The narrative is a deeply honest scientific coming-of-age story. -- Naomi Oreskes Physics Today 6/1/2012 This book is well written and tells a remarkable story that is likely to be of interest to a wide range of readers. Australian Book Review 7/10/2012 Mann's honest and thorough testimony on the attacks against climate science is a critical step toward resolving the climate change debate. Science 7/20/2012 Mann's account and nontechnical rebuttal of the attacks on climate science provide an excellent primer on contemporary climate science...Highly recommended. Choice 8/1/2012 One of the most useful books yet in explaining climate science, especially the use of paleoclimate proxy data to assess the history of Earth's climate. -- Rudy M. Baum Chemical & Engineering News 12/10/12 Confronting climate change will require clear scientific thinking and courageous actions by many individuals. Dr, Mann's book details the powerful evidence supporting climate change as well as the relentless attempts by climate deniers to distort climate science and attack those who are speaking the truth about it. -- Jerry Brown, governor of California A very entertaining book that winds its way through the thicket of climate science and politics. Natural Hazards Observer 7/1/13 must-read -- Jeff Goodell Rolling Stone 9/12/2013 Mann deserves praise for taking the time to speak to other scientists and citizens about what threatens us all. He is not only a brilliant scientist but an ethical hero, a model for all. -- Kristin Shrader-Frechette Metascience Vol 22 - 2014 If you read only one book on climate change, this one is hard to beat. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 6/1/13

About the Author

Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and Director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University. Despite being in the public eye, he continues an active research program in climate science and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers in leading scientific journals. He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union. In 2012 he received the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union. Along with other scientists, he contributed to the reports of the IPCC, which was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He is also a co-founder of the award-winning website

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Shut up," he explained. 1 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Michael Mann is the greatest exponent of 21-st century right-on politically correct science that there is! Forget the silly old Higgs. Michael Mann's brain is the true God Particle!

Michael Mann's opinions should not be regarded as true with a small 't'. That's outmoded capitalist oppressor science thinking. What Michael Mann says is True because it is Correct. In fact, Dr Mann himself shows just how Correct it is by showing how much he cares. He cares so much that he and his enforcers do all they can, every day, to make sure that the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change is one that we can all depend on as Correct. and ever-more Correct. Michael went to great lengths to run some numbers and the results were Correct. He's run some more numbers since then and the results were even more Correct. Those who still don't agree with the Message of Dr Mann's work, even though there's a picture and all, such people require an explanation. That's okay. Science has always been about explanation. The explanation is:"Shut Up".

Read This Book! This is how someone writes when he has done Science all Correct! Roll over Bert Einstein, give Dick Feynman the news! Read it and weep! All young boys and girls who might wonder if they might have a future in science, Dr Mann is showing you how Correct Science is gonna be. You'll do Correct Science too, if you know what's good for you.

('"Shut up," he explained' is a quote from Ring Lardner's story 'The Young Immigrants')
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41 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are a lot of extreme people who don't like Mann. People like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Senator James Inhofe have all made intemperate and personal attacks on him for his opinions on Climate Change. Much of what they say is merely ad-hominem and not a reasoned and logical argument against his scientific conclusions. So it is interesting to see how Mann defends himself and science from this assault.

In short he defends himself in the same unreasonable way they attack him. I was with him on page 81 when he argues the following: "Legitimate scientific skepticism bears a certain hallmark. It does not, for example, focus on the character of the scientist or the policy implications of his or her findings. Instead, it follows a logical line of questioning. Do the results make sense? Do they contradict previous findings? Are the lines of evidence plausible? Do the data appear sound?" Just one page later he starts his attack on one critic (Ross McKitrick) by questioning his character and arguing his judgement is biased because of links with the fossil fuel lobby.

For most of the rest of the book Mann lumps all criticism into one group totally failing to make any distinction between legitimate criticism of his science and ad-hominem attacks on his character. Many of his critics talk nonsense and use abuse instead of argument. But many make legitimate scientific and skeptical arguments without engaging in character assignation. Mann lumps both groups together and assumes they are all motivated by undeclared links to the evil energy industry. This is both unconvincing (unless you never have read any of the criticism) and not a reasonable scientific response according to his own definition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 4 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent book, exposes the hypocrisy of climate change deniers.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific 5 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a good read for those interested in the war on science, specifically climate science, in the USA, Australia and UK. Mann is a veteran, his discoveries having threatened powerful vested interests as the flood of denailist reviews on here shows. An excellent work laying bare the desperate and obnoxious tactics of the fossil fuel lobby.
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13 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse into a sloppy and feeble mind 23 Aug 2013
I bought my copy second-hand since I could not stomach the thought of a penny of mine going to the author. Since the details of this appalling book have been criticised to good effect here and over at, I will merely note that the book serves as an indicator of low intellectual quality and of a shockingly weak grasp of the importance and value of academic integrity. The author has helped degrade the fledgling subject of 'climate science', and it is for that that he will be noted when histories of these sorry decades are written once the dust has settled on the panic he and those not much better than him helped raise over climate.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For the past 15 years, a largely invisible struggle, critical to the future of the planet, is being fought between the global community of climate scientists on one hand and fossil fuel companies-funded think-tanks and politicians on the other. During this time, climate scientists have reached an overwhelming scientific consensus that the carbon dioxide emissions caused by our reliance on coal, oil and gas have already caused significant global warming, and will ultimately endanger our planet unless all fossil fuel usage is rapidly phased out. Simultaneously, the fossil fuel industry has run a huge misinformation campaign to keep the public in the dark about climate change. Ground-breaking scientist Michael Mann writes about in this struggle in his new book.

The critical study which solidified scientific opinion about the truth of global warming was the "hockey stick graph" discovered by author Michael Mann himself in 1998, and highlighted in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" documentary on global warming. Mann's graph showed global average temperatures slowly decreasing towards a distant new ice age for most of the past 1000 years, only to spike sharply upwards in the last one, like the end of a hockey stick. The hockey stick graph was strong evidence that man-made global warming was real, and was already happening. The hockey stick graph was confirmed by many subsequent scientific studies; the handful of studies, which contradicted it, were found to have critical errors. Among climate scientists, there is no longer any doubt about the reality and seriousness of global warming.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY
This adds little to the debate.

Mann comes across as angry, SHOUTY, puerile and hell bent on stifling debate if I am honest - also its shockingly badly written. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bola
5.0 out of 5 stars What a shock! 1 star reviews from Skeptics!
Ignore the 1 star reviews from climate skeptics who started reading this book clearly already decided they were going to dislike it. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Marty McFarty
5.0 out of 5 stars A stirring account of the defence of science
Michael Mann, the lead author of key articles proposing the "hockey stick", tells the grim story of the denialist campaign - and the fight back against it - in this book. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Gabriel Levy
5.0 out of 5 stars Russhyy
Brilliant book of Michael Mann's defence of the Hockey Stick graph against powerful American fossil fuel organisations, the sponsored congressmen and right-wing media outlets.
Published 18 months ago by R. Hayley
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and honest account by an insider.
I found the description of the science behind climate change by a brilliant scientist compelling and well explained. Read more
Published 19 months ago by john o'loghlen
4.0 out of 5 stars Corporate PR vs science
In this book, Michael Mann describes the huge public relations (PR) attack he and many other scientists have suffered as a result of making discoveries that corporate industry has... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Simon
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT a Nobel Prize Laureate
The claim that "In 2007, he jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize along with other scientists who participated in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change" has been disputed... Read more
Published 22 months ago by matthu
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Reason in a Charged Debate
This book is a joy to read. Despite dealing with what is possibly among the most complex systems on the planet, and what is certainly one of the most highly charged debates in... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Doc Richard
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