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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Shut up," he explained.
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...
Published 11 months ago by Jim Good

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1.0 out of 5 stars any intelligent and informed person would feel the need to question ...
Am very much in favour of limiting human impact on the planets ecosystem, and as such welcome many of the changes that are currently being implemented as a result of these claims of human made climate change.

Until recently, was very much of the opinion that this was a genuine phenomenon, then when certain factions started bandying around the term...
Published 1 month ago by C. I. Adams


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18 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Necessary Book, 17 Mar. 2012
It's a little depressing that Michael Mann felt that he had to write this book, more than a decade after his landmark studies were published, however a cursory Google finds that the same zombie arguments still alive and well and stalking the interweb. No, people, you cannot actually generate hockey sticks by feeding red noise into the MBH algorithm, the HS was not an artifact of bad statistics, and the PCA centering is moot to the conclusions of the papers.

But this is much more than a rebunking of denier myths. Here Mann describes in detail the various attacks on himself, other prominent figures in the debate and on the science itself, culminating in the manufactured climategate controversy and Cucinelli fishing expeditions. As a bit of a climate geek I was familiar with a lot of this material, and Mann's tone is calm and factual - however to see it all laid out in one place and in sequence is frankly shocking. The asymmetry between the blog scientists and the genuine article is made plain and the sheer intellectual bankruptcy of some of the denier tactics laid bare.

This is not a technical book on climate change, as others have said, however if you want your opinion on the AGW debate to be an informed one or are interested in the political forces even now shaping the future global climate, this is essential reading.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and honest account by an insider., 14 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (Hardcover)
I found the description of the science behind climate change by a brilliant scientist compelling and well explained. And there is the fascinating and depressing account of how an honest (but initially politically naive) scientist trying to do science in the traditional way (peer reviewed papers in reputable journals with a time scale of years) gets ambushed in the instant media by unscrupulous vested interests employing rhetoric rather than rational argument. It is unfortunate that the scientific establishment did not recognise that in modern times its role explaining itself to the public is as vital as carrying out research in a rigorous manner and this has led to the current messy confusion.
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18 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Academic freedom under attack, 16 Mar. 2012
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John Samuel "gramachree" (Kew Gardens, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (Hardcover)
I am writing this review with some trepidation. I want to write it because I believe it is important to hear of Mann's experiences. Yet, at the same time, I'm reluctant as I'm expecting flaming rebuffs.

So, first, let this review not be about consensus (see my Notes following the review proper). His is not a book about the science of climate change; it isn't advertised as such. If you want that purchase something else. This is a "story of the science and politics". There are a very few technical passages; but most will not struggle with those (honest!) On the science it will not sway the converted. If you supported the consensus on climate change before hand this will not dissuade you. If you disagreed with the consensus it probably won't persuade you to change your beliefs.

But wait, both, wait, park the debate. Wait. This is a book that describes systematic attacks on Mann and his colleagues; very much playing the man not the ball.

The key point is that academic freedom is under attack. 60 Freedom of Information requests over a weekend is a "denial of service attack" upon researchers. Vexatious lawsuits, such as Cuccinelligate in VA, are such an attack (and an insult to the hardworking taxpayer). Regardless of your political persuasion, be it of the left or the right, we are damaging the academic freedom that has been painstakingly built up over centuries. Science is not established in a court of law - or a blog - or a newspaper. Pi is not 3, sorry Indiana. Mann has been subjected to concerted, organised and vituperative personal and professional attacks. Science is a contact sport - vigorous debate amongst practitioners is good, very very good. I want the best science, even when I don't like its results. We all should. But we should treat his book as a warning that we risk pushing people away from the hard subjects due to the abuse they'd encounter; that would not be a good result. I commend his book - it should concern us that we allow this to happen - whether you're a screaming alarmist or the darkest denier.

I repeat, this is not a good result - and I commend his book for bringing this to light. Five full stars.

(Be warned, there are a lot of notes - tons, heaps, absurd amounts. Oh, and there are notes.)

---

Notes on the topic of climate science and consensus and really nothing to do with Mann's book, but:

* As an introduction to the science of climate change Wikipedia isn't bad, try looking at "Climate change". I'd also recommend a few institutions: NASA, NOAA, the UK Met Office, etc. As I say, Mann's is not a science text. Look at journals such as Nature and Science - or SciAm and New Scientist. There are a large number of reputable introductions.
* Is there a consensus? Have your own read on Wikipedia of "Scientific opinion on climate change". If you don't like that answer, have a look on the interweb or Amazon. You can find any confirmation bias response you require. And, remember, blogs are not peer-reviewed science.
* Are there those who disagree with the consensus? Yes, as in the Wikipedia article "List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming".

---

If (ok, when) I am flamed there may be responses including: assertions that there is no consensus; references to Galileo (a scientist upsetting a church) and Lysenko (a scientist who did not back the consensus view but whose political masters viewed the consensus suspiciously); climate practitioners are in a global conspiracy to get rich; peer-review is broken (sigh); that I am a shill or even a shape-shifting seven foot tall lizard (true, hence no photo); that CO2 is plant food (as are water and manure); that McIntyre has "proved" Mann is wrong (I won't put a spoiler in here, buy and read the book and then comment); CO2 is caused by warming; the second law of thermodynamics is being violated; models can't work; MWP; "hide the decline" (another spoiler alert); Al Gore; climategate; deniergate; wind power; etc. etc - hundreds. You get the picture. My point is that all this is not the point, not at all the point. Academic freedom is at stake.
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13 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, 18 Mar. 2012
Michael Mann has written a thoughtful and engaging book relating from a unique vantage point the remarkable events since the publication of his (together with coauthors) temperature series in 1998 and 1999.

The main narrative of the IPCC assessment rooted in robust evidence-based knowledge is a simple benefit to society in general. Yet the disturbing way this knowledge has been manipulated in the social sphere can induce a sense of dislocation for those of us who follow the issue.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stirring account of the defence of science, 28 April 2013
This review is from: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (Hardcover)
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. I strongly recommend it.

Mann gives a lay person's introduction to paleoclimatology, i.e. the study of "proxy records" such as tree rings, fossils and ice cores, which have enabled scientists to ascertain temperatures for thousands of years prior to the 1880s, when measurements began to be recorded. From the 1980s, paleoclimatological research deepened scientists' understanding of long-term climate trends, enabling them to interpret current climate and make predictions about future possibilities with greater confidence.

Mann also traces the growth of climate denialism in American political culture during the 1990s, and the response to it at the highest levels of government during the George Bush administration (2000-08). He explains very clearly the distinction between scientific debate and scepticism on one hand and the battle with the denialists, whose methods undermine science.

Mann describes how climate scientists logically and repeatedly demolished the denialists' arguments - which were usually published by non-scientists, or scientists in other fields, in journals not adhering to standard review processes. Nevertheless, the denialists' quackery was recycled endlessly in the media. The hand of oil and coal companies, who funded - and still fund - climate-denying lobbying organisations, was never far away.

Mann points a frightful picture of the vilification of climate scientists by politicians such as Texas congressman Joe Barton, and the uncritical repetition of denialist arguments by journalists who should have known better. At the height of these "climate wars", Mann and other climate scientists set up the Real Climate site, to explain their work to non-scientists and counter the denialist barrage in cyberspace. Bookmark it!
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 4 Aug. 2014
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Excellent book, exposes the hypocrisy of climate change deniers.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Reason in a Charged Debate, 14 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (Hardcover)
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 science, it runs smoothly and easily as a narrative of one scientist whose findings about past temperatures led him into a maelstrom of controversy. Such is the emotional intensity of his opponents that some of them have gone so far as to make death threats. Nevertheless, he develops his theme calmly and dispassionately, showing how the temperature records of the planet are constructed and modified as new data comes in.

Reading this book brings home the huge disconnect between science carried out in academic journals, and controversy carried out in op-ed pieces and by loudmouthed radio shock-jocks. Michael Mann's account is of one scientist emerging from the laboratory to present the reasons behind the case that modern temperatures are the highest in the last 1000 years, and that it is impossible to account for this without factoring in increases caused by the increases in greenhouse gases caused by our fossil fuel burning.

Along with James Hansen, Michael Mann is a hero of the environmental movement, and this book deserves to be widely read by everyone who is concerned about what kind of legacy our generation is going to leave for our descendants.
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7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but because of the story it tells, rather than the skill of the storytelling, 17 April 2012
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Michael Mann has written down an important story, one that should be told. The series of political meddling and harrassment in science, that he explains, is chilling. Especially as it is told directly from his experiences right in the centre of it all. However, the writing does lack craft overall (not surprising as he is a scientist and not a writer). I wanted him to pause more often and explain interesting elements of the science, when all he does is stop occasionally to lay out an important statistical element of importance to counter the "denier" arguments. And I wanted more of his personal journey, as someone who has been at the centre of some of the most important science of this century, and the victim of a witch-hunt. In his attempt to highlight how he is just one of many working in this area, he loses the human element. This would have made the book more engaging, and ultimately his message clearer and stronger.

Still, overall, this is a very good book.
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11 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT a Nobel Prize Laureate, 27 Oct. 2012
This review is from: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (Hardcover)
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 by the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

Geir Lundestad, Director, Professor, of The Norwegian Nobel Institute has been quoted as saying: "Unfortunately we often experience that members of organizations that have indeed been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize issue various forms of personal diplomas to indicate that they personally have received the Nobel Peace Prize. They have not."

Readers of his book may wish to view other claims made by Mann with a suitably liberal helping of salt.
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7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY, 3 Mar. 2014
This review is from: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (Hardcover)
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.

Einstein had it right. It is the job of science to disprove a theory only once. Unfortunately Mann does NOT share this honest and pure approach to science.
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