The Earth Transformed: An Untold History

Books on Tape. Apr. 2023. 29:12 hrs. ISBN 9780593740385. $95. SCI
Frankopan (global history, Oxford Univ.; The New Silk Roads) narrates his work examining how climate change has altered human history and how, in turn, people have dramatically contributed to it. As a narrator, Frankopan brings a sense of immediacy and intimacy to his carefully researched and timely work, transporting listeners through a sweeping history of climatic shifts and drawing connections to today’s debate about anthropogenic climate change. Frankopan describes many instances where human history was altered by climate: Hitler’s unsuccessful Operation Barbarossa, complicated by a brutal Russian winter; volcanic eruptions in the 530s and 540s CE, which ushered in a time of global cooling and political regime change; environmental disasters that brought down South America’s Moche civilization in 700 CE. Some communities were able to adapt to changes, but others were decimated by inflexibility.
VERDICT This thorough nonfiction title is recommended for those who have found works by Jared Diamond, Clive Ponting, or Brian Fagan to be enlightening. A hefty but significant addition to any library’s collection on science, climatology, or history.
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