Lightning strikes somewhere on the surface of the earth about 100 times every second, and current observations indicate a significant increase in activity in the coming years. This illustrated survey explores the history of lightning, from ancient to modern times. Mythology and observations of lightning damage constituted the extent of lightning history until the Enlightenment period, when Benjamin Franklin, Thomas-François Dalibard, and others began applying a scientific approach. Detailed studies began at the dawn of the twentieth century, with the advent of modern instrumentation. This volume presents up-to-date views of thunderstorm clouds, lightning phenomenology and parameters, spatial distribution of lightning activity, and the global electric circuit. It explores the physical effects of lightning as well as secondary effects, lightning protection, and new frontiers in the understanding of lightning. An information-based study, this book is appropriate for classroom use as well as for popular science readers of all ages.