Earth Science

Tambora: The Eruption That Changed the World

A global history of the climate catastrophe caused by the Tambora eruption


Sep 15, 2015
6 x 9.25 in.
25 halftones. 25 line illus. 1 table.
Buy This

When Indonesia’s Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, it unleashed the most destructive wave of extreme weather the world has witnessed in thousands of years. The volcano’s massive sulfate dust cloud enveloped the Earth, cooling temperatures and disrupting major weather systems for more than three years. Communities worldwide endured famine, disease, and civil unrest on a catastrophic scale.

Here, Gillen D’Arcy Wood traces Tambora’s global and historical reach: how the volcano’s three-year climate change regime initiated the first worldwide cholera pandemic, expanded opium markets in China, and plunged the United States into its first economic depression. Bringing the history of this planetary emergency to life, Tambora sheds light on the fragile interdependence of climate and human societies to offer a cautionary tale about the potential tragic impacts of drastic climate change in our own century.

Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of the 2015 Michelle Kendrick Memorial Book Prize, Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts
  • Honorable Mention for the 2014 ASLI Choice Award in History, Atmospheric Science Librarians International
  • One of The Times Higher Education Supplement’s Books of the Year 2014, chosen by Alison Stokes
  • One of The Guardian’s Best Popular Physical Science Books of 2014, chosen by GrrlScientist