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Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century [Hardcover]

Geoffrey Parker
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: 29.99
Price: 25.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

22 Feb 2013
Revolutions, droughts, famines, invasions, wars, regicides, government collapses - the calamities of the mid-seventeenth century were unprecedented in both frequency and extent. The effects of what historians call the "General Crisis" extended from England to Japan, from the Russian Empire to sub-Saharan Africa. The Americas, too, did not escape the turbulence of the time. In this meticulously researched volume, master historian Geoffrey Parker presents the firsthand testimony of men and women who saw and suffered from the sequence of political, economic, and social crises between 1618 to the late 1680s. Parker also deploys the scientific evidence of climate change during this period. His discoveries revise entirely our understanding of the General Crisis: changes in prevailing weather patterns, especially longer winters and cooler and wetter summers, disrupted growing seasons and destroyed harvests. This in turn brought hunger, malnutrition, and disease; and as material conditions worsened, wars, rebellions, and revolutions rocked the world. The fatal synergy caused by the crisis killed perhaps one-third of the world's human population. Parker's demonstration of the link between climate change, war, and catastrophe 350 years ago stands as an extraordinary historical achievement. And the implications of his study are equally important: are we adequately prepared - or even preparing - for the catastrophes that climate change brings?

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (22 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300153236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300153231
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 7.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"One of the books I found most informative and most perversely enjoyable this year is Geoffrey Parker's "Global Crisis". It deserves, and rewards, careful reading."--Jane Smiley, "Harper's"--Jane Smiley "Harper's "

About the Author

Geoffrey Parker is Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History at The Ohio State University, and winner of the 2012 Heineken History Prize. Among his many books is The Grand Strategy of Philip II, published by Yale.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This work has received outstanding reviews, but reviewers have noted its length, and the unrelentingly depressing story it tells of global crisis, famine, plague, war, revolution and social breakdown. There are harrowing sections on infanticide, rape, abortion and war. Nevertheless it is a delight to read: constantly moving focus, always illuminated by testimony from unfamiliar sources, ranging widely in geography and subject matter. For many UK readers this may be their first in-depth encounter with Chinese and Japanese history, and the book is worth the effort for that alone.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original angle 14 Jun 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What is most impressive about this book is that it stresses the degree to which global history was influenced by the mini ice age of the mid seventeenth century without slipping into complete determinism. The differences, as well as the similarities, between the ways in which different cultures, from the Americas to Japan, responded to a significant and tragic collapse in agricultural productivity are carefully brought out through numerous references to local primary sources. And it is a terrific read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent book 17 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book, bringing together so much relevant history. Historians have neglected the role of climate for too long. This is an important book for thinking about the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History writing at its very best 13 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book looks at the 17th century from a completely different aspect. It shows how climate change, there Mini Ice Age, affected mankind in spectacular ways. A brilliant book with the broadest canvas deftly and brilliantly handled. Parker handles how the mini ice age affected society from China to Scotland: brilliant and a truly mind changing perspective.
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