Letters and Politics

Tambora: The History of an Environmental Catastrophe that Changed the World

In conversation with Gillen D’Arcy Wood on the history on how Indonesia’s Mount Tambora eruption in 1815 unleashed the most destructive wave of extreme weather the world has witnessed in thousands of years. The eruption plunged Europe into winter and America into its first economic crisis.

Gillen D’Arcy Wood is professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His book, Tambora: The Eruption That Changed the World 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.

 

About the book:Tambora

In 1815, Tambora’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.

Gillen D’Arcy Wood traces Tambora’s global and historical reach to tell us 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.

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