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Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam-Power and the Roots of Global Warming Paperback – 27 Oct 2015

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (27 Oct. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1784781290
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784781293
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 319,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


“Malm forcefully unmasks the assumption that economic growth has inevitably brought us to the brink of a hothouse Earth. Rather, as he shows in a subtle and surprising reinterpretation of the Industrial Revolution, it has been the logic of capital (especially the need to valorize immense sunk investments in fossil fuels), not technology or even industrialism per se, that has driven global warming.” Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums and Ecology of Fear

“Fossil Capital is a theoretical masterpiece and a political-economic-ecological manifesto. It looks unblinkingly at the catastrophe that could await human society if we fail to act on the words System Change or Climate Change. It is a book that I will return to again and again—and take notes.” John Bellamy Foster, University of Oregon, author of Marx’s Ecology

“The definitive deep history on how our economic system created the climate crisis. Superb, essential reading from one of the most original thinkers on the subject.” Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine

“Will climate change make us evaluate differently the achievements of George Stevenson and James Watt, Industrial Age pioneers? For it was in Britain, which accounted for 80 per cent of fossil fuel combustion in 1825, that “the fossil economy” began. Malm’s history is expansive and detailed, and often quite terrifying in its analysis. Essential reading.” Herald Scotland

“Very concrete, very beautiful, and very reasonable.” – Joar Tiberg, Aftonbladet

“The birth of the fossil economy, avers human ecologist Andreas Malm, arrived when steam eclipsed water power in mid-nineteenth-century Britain. Around that, Malm builds a deep, insight-packed history of how society came to be in thrall to the twin engines of combustion and capital.” – Barbara Kiser, Nature

“Anyone with an interest in ecology, and anyone opposed to capitalism, must read Malm’s crucial contribution to understand how and why capitalism makes war on planet Earth.” – International Socialist Review

“His thorough account of the switch to steam shows quite convincingly that coal did not make Britain great for everyone, and the transition was rooted not in technological superiority or environmental scarcity but in good old fashioned class conflict.” – In These Times

“This impressive book speaks to several emergent areas in ecocriticism: material ecocriticism, the ubiquitous Anthropocene, environmental history, ‘Victorian Ecology’...Such a formidable body of historical evidence has the potential to ignite both ‘Victorian ecology’ and a more socially engaged ecocriticism.” – John Parnham, Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism

“Fossil Capital presents, with impressive detail and theoretical clarity, how the fossil fuel economy has come into being. Malm does not reiterate commonplaces about climate change, but looks closely at its origins. This extremely well-written book is radical without being dogmatic. Malm does not take his audience for granted at any point; there are no short cuts.” – Marx and Philosophy Review of Books

“A unique reconceptualization of the relationship between nature, capitalism, and Marxism.” – Jacobin

"A major and important revision of Marxist theory...a singularly important work, pointing the way for future work in economics, politics, theories of time, space and energy." Radical Philosophy

“Remarkable book” – Benjamin Kunkel, London Review of Books

"The best book written about the origins of global warming….Like Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, Fossil Capital trenchantly demonstrated that capitalism and capitalists are responsible for climate change.” - Michael Robbins, Bookforum

About the Author

Andreas Malm teaches human ecology at Lund University, Sweden. His work has appeared in journals such as Environmental History, Historical Materialism, Antipode and Organization & Environment. He is the author, with Shora Esmailian, of Iran on the Brink: Rising Workers and Threats of War, and of half a dozen books in Swedish on political economy, the Middle East and climate change.

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Most helpful customer reviews on 3.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
5.0 out of 5 starsbut full of useful information and makes a very important argument
31 March 2017 - Published on
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John C. Landon
5.0 out of 5 starsThis is a good account of the transition to fossil fuel industrialization with ...
28 July 2016 - Published on
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsArtful prose
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seyfettin can gulen
4.0 out of 5 starsVery good treatise of the tension between capitalism and fossil fuel ...
25 July 2016 - Published on
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5 people found this helpful.
Shawn Parkhurst
5.0 out of 5 starsIt is a wonderful accomplishment that opens up many new questions and possibilities
12 March 2016 - Published on
9 people found this helpful.
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