The fact that weather can affect everything from creaky joints to the appearance of celestial bodies is old news. But what about the effect of weather on culture, politics, language? Author Laura Lee explores the connection between Mother Nature and turning points of the human experience in Blame It on the Rain: How the Weather Has Changed History. Lee skips around from the Spanish Armada to the 1948 U.S. presidential race to the building of Noah's Ark, sharing fascinating tidbits in the humorous style she's brought to earlier careers as a DJ and comedian, as well as to her 11 previous books.

Lee discusses how high summer temperatures contributed to the 1967 Detroit riots, and how fluctuations during the Little Ice Age (around 1350 to 1850 A.D.) led not only to witch hunts in Europe, but may have also nurtured the singular wood that Stradivarius used in creating his string masterpieces. She revisits the connection between the most popular of Edvard Munch's Scream paintings and the 1883 eruption on Krakatoa, and reflects on the strategic importance of climate.

Blame It on the Rain is a full of short dare one say breezy chapters in which Lee sets the scene as in a blockbuster summer disaster movie, then condenses long threads of history into little summaries that wrap up as neatly and quirkily as a Fractured Fairy Tale. Lee's tone can be a bit too smart-alecky at times, but her take on history is always refreshing and thought-provoking.

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