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The British weather. Subject of endless complaint, small-talk saviour of the British public, famously changeable. We all feel we know it well, as a largely benign and gentle backdrop to our lives. But how well do we really know it? The real story of British weather is in its history. The truth is, our weather has changed not only the course of our history and society dramatically, but even humanity itself. The extraordinary tale of Britain's weather and our relationship with it across the ages is told in The Story of the British and their Weather.
Recounting the greatest weather stories from the distant to the most recent past, it reveals a surprisingly frightening picture. Recent history alone includes a devastating tidal surge in 1953 that killed thousands around the North Sea coasts; bitter winter weather in 1947 and 1962/63 paralysed Britain economically, as did the dramatic water shortages caused by the 1975-76 drought. Whole communities have been wiped out in hours by devastating floods, while tornadoes, blizzards, gales, lightning and smog have all repeatedly caused death on a wide scale, even in the heart of London. And just as Icelandic volcanoes have shown more recently how ash can disrupt modern aircraft, so too have volcanoes influenced our weather catastrophically in the past, at one time sinking Napoleonic guns and shaping European politics, and at another almost ending humanity in its infancy.
Well researched and divided up by weather type, this is a compelling read that clearly shows who is the real master of these islands and the ultimate controller of their destiny.
Patrick Nobbs was born in Thornbury, Gloucestershire. Although having lived variously in Brussels, Israel and the USA, he is now based in Kent. With an honours degree in History he has worked in key marketing roles for several global businesses. However, it was the summer of 1976 that sparked the beginning of a lifelong passion for all things weather-related that has ultimately resulted in this book.