The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

Dispatches from the Front Lines

Michael E. Mann

Columbia University Press

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

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Pub Date: November 2013

ISBN: 9780231152556

448 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $19.95£17.00

Pub Date: March 2012

ISBN: 9780231152549

448 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $28.95£25.00

Pub Date: March 2012

ISBN: 9780231526388

448 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $18.99£16.00

The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

Dispatches from the Front Lines

Michael E. Mann

Columbia University Press

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.

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

If you don't believe our climate is changing, read this book. Dr. Mann will change your mind. For us, it's a war of words. Preserve the Earth, and pass the ammunition.

Bill Nye the Science Guy ©

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

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)

And if you read just one book on climate change, make it Michael E. Mann's riveting exposé of disinformation and denial....

Irish Times

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

A harrowing ride through the politics of truth and denial.

Shawn Lawrence Otto, Huffington Post

...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

Vitally important to all citizens of a warming planet Earth.

James P. Lenfestey, Star Tribune

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

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

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

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

Mann's honest and thorough testimony on the attacks against climate science is a critical step toward resolving the climate change debate.


Mann's account and nontechnical rebuttal of the attacks on climate science provide an excellent primer on contemporary climate science....Highly recommended.


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

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


Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone

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

If you read only one book on climate change, this one is hard to beat.

Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith
Abbreviations and Acronyms
Prologue: What Is the Hockey Stick?
1. Born in a War
2. Climate Science Comes of Age
3. Signals in the Noise
4. The Making of the Hockey Stick
5. The Origins of Denial
6. A Candle in the Dark
7. In the Line of Fire
8. Hockey Stick Goes to Washington
9. When You Get Your Picture on the Cover of...
10. Say it Ain't So (Smokey) Joe!
11. A Tale of Two Reports
12. Heads of the Hydra
13. The Battle of the Bulge
14. Climategate: The Real Story
15. Fighting Back
Selected Bibliography

Read an excerpt from the new postscript to the paperback edition:

Web Features: "Crusades Against Science 101 with Michael Mann"
Watch Michael Mann's talk for TEDxPSU:

Honorable Mention – 2013 Green Book Festival in the Scientific category

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