Friday, January 19, 2018

Review of 'Global crisis: war, climate change and catastrophe in the seventeenth century' by Geoffrey Parker

I love reading 'big-picture' history books, and they don't come much bigger picture than this. He brings together conventional history (wars, revolts, etc.) with paleo-climatology, so there's lots of evidence about what the weather was like in the C17th. What it was mainly like was awful - cold, disturbed rainfall patterns (droughts and floods), short growing seasons - all leading to famine and thus to war.

At times the book feels over-long, especially in the middle. There really are a lot of blow by blow accounts of what happened in each of the places he includes in his studies - I didn't need a new narrative history of the English Civil Wars. But it's worth reading for the beginning and the end, which does bring it all together,,,and bring it back up to date with accounts of Katrina, Sandy and other more recent disasters.

No comments: