Climate Books of the Years, from 1984 to 2027: A Personal View

In 44 months from now, in September 2027, I shall be retiring from the University of Cambridge.  My retirement will mark the beginning of the 44th year since I commenced my academic career when, in September 1984, I took up a full-time lecturing position in physical geography at the University of Salford.

Starting next month, and in each of the subsequent 43 months remaining of my full-time academic career, I shall be posting on these pages a review of my ‘climate book of the year’.  February 2024 will start with the year 1984 and the series will end in September 2027 with the year 2027.

These 44 essays will collectively offer an account of the changing ways in which climate change has been written about since the mid-1980s when my professional career began.  It is another way of reviewing the history of climate change science, knowledge, culture and politics over the past four decades and it also allows me to reflect on my career in climate change research and scholarship.

Each highlighted book will be selected from the ever-expanding catalogue of about three thousand books about climate and its changes which I have maintained now for well over two decades.  Each monthly review will introduce the book and its significance, briefly placing it in context of the time of first publication, followed by a short assessment of the book itself.

In each month’s ‘climate book of the year’ post, I shall also give a call-out to up to three other books that were published that same year that I believe were noteworthy for understanding the history of climate change studies.

My criteria for selecting my ‘climate book of year’ will be as follows:

  • Books that I judge to have scientific, political, cultural and/or broader intellectual significance for how the world thinks and talks about climate change;
  • Books published in the English language, or translated into English;
  • Books published by recognised commercial publishers, not government reports, self-published books or published by think-tanks or NGOs;
  • Books that are single authored, or co-written, not edited collections with multiple authors and not ghost-written;
  • Books that deal directly with what I define broadly speaking as ‘climate and its changes’;
  • Books selected might be textbooks, research monographs, syntheses, polemics, (auto)biographies, fiction, or poetry.

Come back to this page in February to read about my 1984 ‘Climate book of the year’.

I would welcome feedback.

© Mike Hulme, 23 January 2024

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