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The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy

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By: Michael E Mann (Author), Tom Toles (Illustrator)

208 pages, 53 illustrations

Columbia University Press

Hardback | 2016 | #229625 | ISBN-13: 9780231177863
Available for pre-order: Due Nov 2016 Details
NHBS Price: £18.95 $23/€21 approx

About this book

The award winning climate scientist Michael E. Mann and the Pulitzer Prize–winning political cartoonist Tom Toles have fought at the frontlines of climate denialism for most of their careers. They have witnessed the manipulation of the media by business and political interests and the unconscionable play to partisanship on issues that affect the well-being of millions. The lessons they have learned have been invaluable, inspiring this brilliant, colorful escape hatch from the madhouse of the climate wars.

Through satire, The Madhouse Effect portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that man-made activity has changed our climate. Toles's cartoons collapse counter-scientific strategies into their biased components, helping readers see how to best strike at these fallacies. Mann's expert skills at science communication aim to restore sanity to a debate that continues to rage against widely acknowledged scientific consensus. The synergy of these two commonsense crusaders enlivens the gloom and doom of so many climate-themed books – and may even convert a few of the faithful to the right side of science.

"Michael Mann is one of the planet's great climate scientists, and Tom Toles may be the great climate communicator – together they are a Category 5 storm of information and indignation, wreaking humorous havoc on those who would deny the greatest challenge humans have ever faced."
– Bill McKibben, founder of

"Mann and Toles are uniquely qualified to lampoon the disconnect between our national politics and how reasonable people at the local, state and regional level – as well as their counterparts in other countries – are rolling their sleeves up and actually dealing with climate change."
– Aaron Huertas, Senior Washington Director, Cater Communications;

"When giving public talks, I am often asked, "What do I do about my Uncle Joe, who doesn't believe in climate change?" Now I finally have an answer: Buy him a copy of The Madhouse Effect and tell him you won't talk to him until he has read it. Even if he doesn't read it, he'll look at the pictures, and that might just be enough."
– Naomi Oreskes, Harvard University



Preface: Why We Wrote This Book

1. Science: How It Works
2. Climate Change: The Basics
3. Why Should I Give a Damn?
4. The Stages of Denial
5. The War on Climate Science
6. Hypocrisy—Thy Name Is Climate Change Denial
7. Geoengineering, or "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"
8. A Path Forward


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Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science and director of the Earth Systems Science Center at Penn State University. He is the author of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (2012) and a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Tom Toles is the Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist of the Washington Post. He has a particular interest in climate-change science and has worked consistently to advance understanding on this subject, including its political context, since the 1980s.

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