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A Cold Welcome

A Cold Welcome

The Little Ice Age and Europe’s Encounter with North America

Sam White

ISBN 9780674244900

Publication date: 02/04/2020

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Cundill History Prize Finalist
Longman–History Today Prize Finalist
Winner of the Roland H. Bainton Book Prize

“Meticulous environmental-historical detective work.”
Times Literary Supplement

When Europeans first arrived in North America, they faced a cold new world. The average global temperature had dropped to lows unseen in millennia. The effects of this climactic upheaval were stark and unpredictable: blizzards and deep freezes, droughts and famines, winters in which everything froze, even the Rio Grande. A Cold Welcome tells the story of this crucial period, taking us from Europe’s earliest expeditions in unfamiliar landscapes to the perilous first winters in Quebec and Jamestown. As we confront our own uncertain future, it offers a powerful reminder of the unexpected risks of an unpredictable climate.

“A remarkable journey through the complex impacts of the Little Ice Age on Colonial North America…This beautifully written, important book leaves us in no doubt that we ignore the chronicle of past climate change at our peril. I found it hard to put down.”
—Brian Fagan, author of The Little Ice Age

“Deeply researched and exciting…His fresh account of the climatic forces shaping the colonization of North America differs significantly from long-standing interpretations of those early calamities.”
New York Review of Books

Praise

  • In his deeply researched and exciting new book, A Cold Welcome, the historian Sam White focuses on the true stories of the English, Spanish, and French colonial expeditions in North America. He tells strange and surprising tales of drought, famine, bitterly cold winters, desperation, and death, while anchoring his research in the methods and results of the science of climate change and historical climatology…He weaves an intricate, complex tapestry as he examines the effects both of climate—meteorological conditions over relatively long periods of time—and of weather—the conditions of the atmosphere over a short term—on vulnerable colonists in North America in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries…His fresh account of the climatic forces shaping the colonization of North America differs significantly from long-standing interpretations of those early calamities.

    —Susan Dunn, New York Review of Books

Awards

  • 2018, Winner of the Roland H. Bainton Book Prize

Author

  • Sam White is Associate Professor in the Department of History at The Ohio State University.

Book Details

  • 384 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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