The Earth Transformed
Professor Peter Frankopan
*A BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK*
AN INSTANT #2 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
‘Humanity has transformed the Earth: Frankopan transforms our understanding of history’ Financial Times
‘Vast, learned and timely work’ Sunday Times
From the international bestselling author of The Silk Roads comes a major history of how a changing climate has dramatically shaped the development-and demise-of civilisations across time.
A 2023 HIGHLIGHT FOR: BBC NEWS * SUNDAY TIMES CULTURE * FINANCIAL TIMES * NEW EUROPEAN * GUARDIAN * NEW STATESMAN * THE TIMES * THE WEEK * WATERSTONES * BLACKWELL’S
When we think about history, we rarely pay much attention to the most destructive floods, the worst winters, the most devastating droughts or the ways that ecosystems have changed over time.
In The Earth Transformed, Peter Frankopan, one of the world’s leading historians, shows that the natural environment is a crucial, if not the defining, factor in global history – and not just of humankind. Volcanic eruptions, solar activities, atmospheric, oceanic and other shifts, as well as anthropogenic behaviour, are fundamental parts of the past and the present. In this magnificent and groundbreaking book, we learn about the origins of our species: about the development of religion and language and their relationships with the environment; about how the desire to centralise agricultural surplus formed the origins of the bureaucratic state; about how growing demands for harvests resulted in the increased shipment of enslaved peoples; about how efforts to understand and manipulate the weather have a long and deep history. All provide lessons of profound importance as we face a precarious future of rapid global warming.
Taking us from the Big Bang to the present day and beyond, The Earth Transformed forces us to reckon with humankind’s continuing efforts to make sense of the natural world.
‘This is epic, gripping, original history that leaps off the page. I wanted to buy everyone I know a copy’ Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland
‘All Historians aiming to tell a narrative face the problem of when exactly to start it. Only Peter Frankopan would go back 2.5 billion years to the Great Oxidation Event’ Tom Holland
Frankopan shows you how everything fits together ... vast, learned and timely ... The Earth Transformed is Sapiens for grown-ups ... it holds lessons for a world grappling with rapid climate change caused by human industry -- Dan Jones * Sunday Times * Frankopan has brought all this scholarly work together into a massive book that is comprehensive, well-informed and fascinating. It has the intellectual weight and dramatic force of a tsunami ... This is an endlessly fascinating book, an easy read on an important issue -- Gerard DeGroot * The Times * Frankopan demonstrates an impressive mastery of anthropological, historical, and meteorological literature, and his scrupulously evenhanded analysis carefully notes uncertainties in scientific and historical evidence. Elegant and cogently argued, this illuminates an age-old and urgently important dynamic * Publishers Weekly * [Frankopan] succeeds in mastering a seemingly impossible challenge, distilling an immense mass of historical sources, scientific data and modern scholarship that span thousands of years and the entire globe into an epic and spellbinding story. Humanity has transformed the Earth: Frankopan transforms our understanding of history * Financial TImes * This is epic, gripping, original history that leaps off the page. I wanted to buy everyone I know a copy -- Sathnam Sanghera A dazzling compendium of global research ... The value of this book is as an act of deep understanding, recognising not only scientifically but culturally and philosophically that we are epiphenomena - not dominators of the Earth but products of it -- Adam Nicolson * Spectator * Praise for Peter Frankopan: 'He has the gift of perspective - the capacity to see the wood for the trees--which he combines with a Tolstoyan knack for weaving little details into the broader sweep of human affairs -- Jamie Susskind * Daily Telegraph * Frankopan is a brilliant guide to terra incognita -- Niall Ferguson * Sunday Times * Peter Frankopan has a sharp eye for startling facts -- Richard Drayton * Times Literary Supplement * [His] skill is that he able to step back a few more paces from the world map and global events than most modern commentators, whilst encouraging us to use history as a way of looking forward than regressing into the past -- Joseph Wilkins * Total Politics * He is a Herodotus of the twenty-first century * Irish Left Review * All Historians aiming to tell a narrative face the problem of when exactly to start it. Only Peter Frankopan would go back 2.5 billion years to the Great Oxidation Event -- Tom Holland Vast, learned and timely work * The Sunday Times *
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