The Earth Transformed: An Untold History
Most people can name the influential leaders and major battles of the past. Few can name the most destructive storms, the worst winters, the most devastating droughts. In The Earth Transformed, ground-breaking historian Peter Frankopan reconnects us with our ancestors who, like us, worshipped, exploited and conserved the natural environment – and draws salutary conclusions about what the future may bring.
In this revelatory book, Frankopan shows that engagement with the natural world and with climatic change and their effects on us are not new: exploring, for instance, how the development of religion and language and their relationships with the environment; tracing how growing demands for harvests resulted in the increased shipment of enslaved peoples; scrutinising how the desire to centralise agricultural surplus formed the origins of the bureaucratic state; and seeing how efforts to understand and manipulate the weather have a long and deep history.
Understanding how past shifts in natural patterns have shaped history, and how our own species has shaped terrestrial, marine and atmospheric conditions is not just important but essential at a time of growing awareness of the severity of the climate crisis. Taking us from the beginning of recorded history to the present day, The Earth Transformed forces us to reckon with humankind’s continuing efforts to make sense of the natural world.
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