The Madhouse Effect

Publisher's Book Description

The award winning climate scientist Michael E. Mann and the Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Tom Toles have fought at the frontlines of climate denialism for most of their careers. They have witnessed the manipulation of the media by business and political interests and the unconscionable play to partisanship on issues that affect the well-being of millions. The lessons they have learned have been invaluable, inspiring this brilliant, colorful escape hatch from the madhouse of the climate wars.

Through satire, “The Madhouse Effect” portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that man-made activity has changed our climate. Toles’s cartoons collapse counter-scientific strategies into their biased components, helping readers see how to best strike at these fallacies. Mann’s expert skills at science communication aim to restore sanity to a debate that continues to rage against widely acknowledged scientific consensus. The synergy of these two commonsense crusaders enlivens the gloom and doom of so many climate-themed books–and may even convert a few of the faithful to the right side of science.

The Madhouse Effect makes list of outstanding titles from the AAUP's University Press Books Committee! (8/21/17)

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“For centuries, powerful forces of greed have tried to hide the truth, but that doesn't change reality - the earth is round and climate change is real. The Madhouse Effect brilliantly dissects the climate denial industry, empowering all of us to see the facts and take action before it's too late.”

Leonardo DiCaprio, Actor and environmental activist


"Michael E. Mann is one of the planet's great climate scientists, and Tom Toles may be the great climate communicator―together, they are a category 5 storm of information and indignation, wreaking humorous havoc on those who would deny the greatest challenge humans have ever faced."

Bill McKibben, founder of


"If you are not concerned about climate change yet, please read this book. If you are unaware of the hard-core deniers among us, read this book. If you are a climate change denier, doubter, techno-fixer, or luke-warmer, read this book. Mann and Toles have written some words and drawn some pictures for you, so maybe you'll get it this time."

Bill Nye, "the Science Guy"


"When giving public talks, I am often asked, 'What do I do about my Uncle Joe, who doesn't believe in climate change?' Now I finally have an answer: Buy him a copy of The Madhouse Effect, and tell him you won't talk to him until he has read it. Even if he doesn't read it, he'll look at the pictures, and that might just be enough."

Naomi Oreskes, coauthor of The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future


“Brilliant, insightful, and fresh! Two gifted experts - one a scientist, the other an editorial cartoonist- invite you to be entertained and outraged, inspired and motivated to escape the madhouse that characterizes climate dialogue and politics today. \new and hilarious insigts into climate change. I loved it!"

Jane Lubchenko, former administrator of NOAA and undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere


"A lively book that even "I-don't-read-science-books" members will like"

Ann Connery Frantz, Worcester Telegram


"Read this book and share it far and wide!"

NR Mallery, Green Energy Times


"The Madhouse Effect should be mandatory reading for the next president-assuming that the next President doesn't want to turn the White House into a madhouse."

DR Tucker, Washington Monthly


"The engaging and often funny volume aims not only to clearly explain the science behind climate change but also to satirize the skeptics and deniers that have worked hard to delay political action for the past few decades"

John R. Platt, Take Part


"Noted climate researcher, Michael Mann, takes us on a tour of the world that climate deniers have helped create, sowing the seeds of confusion and harvesting a crop full of climate inaction in the process"

Rob Moore, Natural Resources Defense Council


"What makes [Madhouse Effect] unique is the way it combines Mann's science communication skills and Toles' illustrations, which provide a biting and amusing perspective"

— Andrew Seifter, Media Matters for America


"The writing is brilliantly clear and concise. The science is unfailingly accurate. And the cartoons add an immediacy, accessibility, and passion to the book that "normal" books about the climate problem usually lack".

— Jonathan Koomey


"If you're wondering why so many politicians and news sources deny that dangerous human-caused climate change is real, and you want a relatively short and easy-to-read summary of the issue, look no further than The Madhouse Effect"

— Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, The Weather Underground


"My friends Michael Mann and Tom Toles combined their considerable talents and wrote The Madhouse Effect"

— Al Gore


"The Madhouse Effect uses science, reason, and political cartoons to explain this polarized, hot world we live in, and to collapse the pseudo-science arguments agaisnt climate change."

Charlotte Ahlin, Bustle

Media Reviews

Worcester Telegram — Ann Connery

The Daily Climate — Peter Dykstra

The Washington Monthly — D.R. Tucker

Take Part — John R. Platt

Village Magazine — John Gibbons

The Guardian — John Abraham

Jewish Currents — Judy Weiss

Nature — Dave Reay

Scientific American — Mark Fischetti

Public Radio International "Living On Earth" — Julia Franz

Pittsburgh Magazine —Kristofer Collins

Bustle — Charlotte Ahlin

Blog Reviews

Science Blogs — Greg Laden

Science League of America — Ann Reid

Critical Angle — Andy Skuce

Climate Denial Crock of the Week — Peter Sinclair

Daily Kos — DarkSyde

Daily Kos — Climate Denier Roundup

Cartoons for Science — Stefan Rahmstorf

A Satirical Exit from the Madhouse — Magnús Örn Sigurðsson

LitRant — Kel Munger

Yale Climate Connections — Michael Svoboda

Weather Underground — Jeff Masters

Huffington Post — Ann Reid

Media Matters — Andrew Seifter

Digerati & Technology Reports — Mike Hubbartt


Feature in Scientific American 

Author interview (Public Radio International’s “Living On Earth”) 

Chapter 1: Science How it Works Follow the link and select excerpt to read this chapter

Chapter 7: Geoengineering, or "What could Possibly Go Wrong" Available via NCSE

Author interview

Madhouse Effect Lecture (University of Sydney)

Sneak Peak Chapters

Selected High-Res Cartoons from Book