The Complete Ice Age

The Complete Ice Age

How Climate Change Shaped the World

  1. Edited by Brian Fagan
  • ISBN 9780500051610
  • 25.40 x 19.20 cm
  • Hardback
  • 240pp
  • 192 Illustrations, 160 in colour
  • First published 2009
‘Colourful, concise and with lots of up-to-date science, this book hits the spot’ – BBC Focus
‘A visually pleasing and interesting introduction to the subject for the non-specialist and a useful text at the first-year student level’ – Geological Magazine

The astonishing climatic rollercoaster that was the Ice Age formed the backdrop to human evolution for almost 2.5 million years. During this time vast swathes of North America and Europe were frequently covered by ice sheets up to 2 kilometres thick, glaciers carved great valleys through the landscape and fearsome beasts including the sabre-toothed cat and woolly mammoth roamed a freezing, desolate wilderness.

What caused this period of intense cold and the intervals of rapid warming that punctuated it? And how did human populations survive in such an unstable and hostile world?

As global warming and rising sea levels threaten the very foundations of our society, the need to understand past climate and the ways in which humans and animals adapted to it have never been more imperative.

In this book, leading scientists weave a compelling story out of the most up-to-date discoveries in different fields of Ice Age research.

As the glaciers melted 10,000 years ago, our ancestors faced a staggering sea-level rise of 120 metres, far in excess of the relatively modest rise predicted for the 21st century. The final chapter issues a stark warning about the future of our planet and the consequences of our profligate lifestyles.

Magnificently illustrated with dramatic landscape photography, fossil remains of our ancestors and Ice Age beasts, and specially commissioned explanatory diagrams, The Complete Ice Age shows both the fragility of our climate system and the power of humans to adapt to the most extreme environmental challenges.

Brian Fagan is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of California and the author of many widely read books on ancient climate change, including Floods, Famines and Emperors: El Niño and the Fate of Civilizations, The Little Ice Age and The Great Warming.

John Hoffecker is a Fellow at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado and the author of numerous publications, including Desolate Landscapes, A Prehistory of the North and, with Scott A. Elias, Human Ecology of Beringia. Mark Maslin is Professor of Geography at University College London and Director of the UCL Environment Institute. A leading palaeoclimatologist, his publications include the highly successful Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction. Hannah O’Regan is a Senior Research Officer at Liverpool John Moores University, with particular interest in Ice Age carnivores and cave archaeology.