John V.H. Dippel

The definitive account of the devastating weather in the spring and summer of 1816, which shook New England's faith in itself and its future.

Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death: The Impact of America's First Climate Crisis

In the early spring, corn, fruits, and flowers grew as usual, but then cold rains followed by several days of snow in June killed off almost all crops. The New England landscape was as bleak and lifeless as in the dead of winter. People turned to prayer, asking forgiveness for the sins for which they were now being punished. But this did not help. The series of cold spells continued throughout the summer, devastating the region's farms and prompting many thousands to hastily pack up and head for the frontier. The greatest threat to America's well being was just beginning. And so were the responses to this crisis, which would help create a modern nation.

Selected Works

"Stunningly important and effectively presented." -- David Barash
“The most authoritative, detailed, and gripping account of the climate disaster that struck New England in 1816-17.”
--Gillen D'Arcy, author of "Tambora."
“A thoughtful and sensitive account of a sickness tug-of-war between fear and hope.”
--Times Literary Supplement
“Sheds light on an inexplicable phenomenon.”
--Yad Vashem
"Dippel's eloquent writing is both entertaining and informative. Impeccable research and historical analysis . . . " -- Pacific Northwest Quarterly