the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

The Hockey Stick Illusion

Posted by Jeff Id on January 22, 2010

Andrew Montford (Bishop Hill) kindly provided an electronic copy of his new book the Hockey Stick Illuison.  I asked for it thinking I could grab some quotes and give the story some context.   As often in this life, I again found myself looking at a far bigger project than expected.  Andrew, as it happens, is a natural writer but beyond that he has the dogged attention to detail that a good engineer possesses.  It’s quite  a unique combination.  There are only a few people in the world that have an understanding of Steve McIntyre’s battle with the hockey stick temperature reconstructions and Andrew Montford  is clearly one of  those very few people.

I’ve had several books offered to me over the past year and a half for advertisement.   So far I’ve chosen one since it was the first book out on the Climategate emails left here.  I’m simply not going to advertise for books which are skeptical or warmist without careful review.  Tom Fuller and Steve Mosher wrote a very detailed account of climategate emials in which despite every major outlet covering the story linking here, this blog was featured in a very minor roll.  However their book did a great job accurately depicting the climategate story, it contains unique un-discussed material and it has the excellent long term perspective of Steve Mosher on McIntyre’s efforts.

This book by Andrew Montford, is a different beast though.  Andrew put a lot of effort into writing a continuous story following the timeline of Steve McIntyres experiences, all done in an exciting, what happens next, fashion.  There is a whole chapter on climategate as it relates to the hockey stick, yet not a single mention of this blog. An affront to the truth I say!!  Just kidding. My point is that there is no direct compensatory motivation for me to promote either of these books.

Andrew’s book  keeps a regular and continuous sense of anticipation which never lets up,  and early in the book a reader knows there’s going to be repeated delivery for your efforts.  The result is an endless barrage of question, potential,  resolution, next question.   I’ve never seen a book quite like it but then again, there aren’t many stories like it.     Still to be fair, the detail of it will appeal mostly to a serious reader, yet a casual reader will find so much information that the story will leave them with their jaw hanging.  A more complete and in context history of the experiences of Steve McIntyre’a efforts to open up the secrets of the paleo-climate community doesnt’ exist.

Honestly, I didn’t know how anyone could write 482 pages about hockey stick history and keep my attention.  The book is full of gems though, details which simply don’t exist on line to my knowledge.

So as an avid book reader, without any reservations I can flatly state, this is a good book.  It’s well written, it’s complete, it’s accurate and better than that, Andrew Montford makes it fun.

As an example, I’ve read the NAS reports on the hockey stick, I’ve studied it well enough to see the political perspective from the outside.  I even had a discussion with a new AGW believer on it’s political and unscientific conclusions yesterday including how they tried to walk the edge of the cliff between correctness and credibility all in an effort to keep the absolute garbage work of the Mann hockey stick alive. Andrew Montford lays  it all out for you, quotes, context, timeline, personalities and results.

If you want to know the difference between NAS and Wegman reports, if you have an interest in the incredible history McIntyre has experienced in discovering the nature of paleo-climate science, if you enjoy a good story, this is a good choice and unless you want to spend a year of your life muddling through the climate audit archives reading and grasping one technical post after another (like me), it’s the only choice.

Click on image above for purchase details – Available now

8 Responses to “The Hockey Stick Illusion”

  1. Mike said

    Great review.

  2. BDAABAT said

    Bah! Amazon still lists it as out of print-limited availability for those of us in the US.


  3. Phillip Bratby said

    You’ve made me even more eager for my copy to arrive. I hadn’t realised I was getting so much for my money.

  4. I’m working on a US edition. Really!

  5. Tim G said

    Pleas make it Kindle-able!


  6. rogerthesurf said

    There might be global warming or cooling but the important issue is whether we, as a human race, can do anything about it.

    There are a host of porkies and not very much truth barraging us everyday so its difficult to know what to believe.

    I think I have simplified the issue in an entertaining way on my blog which includes some issues connected with climategate and “embarrassing” evidence.

    In the pipeline is an analysis of the economic effects of the proposed emission reductions. Watch this space or should I say Blog

    Please feel welcome to visit and leave a comment.



    PS The term “porky” is listed in the Australian Dictionary of Slang.( So I’m told.)

  7. Alex said

    I couldn’t wait for the US version so I ordered it from the UK. And I just got my copy of Mosher’s book.

  8. […] Hill) The Hockey Stick Illusion. Although I thought it excellent, and agree with the reviews (e.g. Air Vent), I thought I would look for contrary opinions, to allow me to compare and contrast the different […]

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