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The World interweaves two stories-of our interactions with nature and with each other. The environment-centered story is about humans distancing themselves from the rest of nature and searching for a relationship that strikes a balance between constructive and destructive exploitation. The culture-centered story is of how human cultures have become mutually influential and yet mutually differentiating. Both stories have been going on for thousands of years. We do not know whether they will end in triumph or disaster. There is no prospect of covering all of world history in one book. Rather, the fabric of this book is woven from selected strands. Readers will see these at every turn, twisted together into yarn, stretched into stories. Human-focused historical ecologythe environmental themewill drive readers back, again and again, to the same concepts: sustenance, shelter, disease, energy, technology, art. (The last is a vital category for historians, not only because it is part of our interface with the rest of the world, but also because it forms a record of how we see reality and of how the way we see it changes.) In the global story of human interactionsthe cultural themewe return constantly to the ways people make contact with each another: migration, trade, war, imperialism, pilgrimage, gift exchange, diplomacy, traveland to their social frameworks: the economic and political arenas, the human groups and groupings, the states and civilizations, the sexes and generations, the classes and clusters of identity.
Felipe Fernández-Armesto holds the William P. Reynolds Chair of History at the University of Notre Dame. He has master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Oxford, where he spent most of his teaching career, before taking up the Chair of Global Environmental History at Queen Mary College, University of London in 2000, and the Prince of Asturias Chair at Tufts University (2005-9). He is on editorial boards for the History of Cartography for the University of Chicago Press, Studies in Overseas History (Leiden University), Comparative Studies in Society and History, Journeys, and Journal of Global History. Recent awards include the World History Association Book Prize (2007), Spain’s Premio Nacional de GastronomIa (2005, for his work on the history of food), the Premio Nacional de Investigación (Sociedad Geográfica Española, 2004). He has had many distinguished visiting appointments, including a Fellowship of the Netherlands Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and a Union Pacific Visiting Professorship at the University of Minnesota. He won the Caird Medal of the National Maritime Museum in 1995 and the John Carter Brown Medal in 1999 and has honorary doctorates from La Trobe University and the Universidad de los Andes. He has served on the Council of the Hakluyt Society, on the Committee of English PEN, and as Chairman of the PEN Literary Foundation. His work in journalism includes regular columns in the British and Spanish press, and, among many contributions to broadcasting, he is the longest-serving presenter of BBC radio’s flagship current affairs program, Analysis. He has been short-listed for the most valuable literary prize in the U.K.
Table of Contents
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Foragers and Farmers, to 5,000 BCE
Out of the ice: Peopling the Earth
So you think yoursquo;re Human?
Human Evolution Out of Africa Peopling the Old World Migration, Population, and Social Change
The Last Great Ice Age
Ice-Age Culture and Society Peopling the New World Survival of the Foragers
In Perspective: After the Ice
Out of the Mud: Farming and Herding After the Ice Age
The Problem of Agriculture A Case in Point
Aboriginal Australians Preagriculural Settlements
The Disadvantages of Farming Husbandry in Different Environments Herdersrsquo; Environments Tillersrsquo; Environments
The Spread of Agriculture Europe Asia
The Americas Africa
The Pacific Islands So Why did Farming Start?
The Outcome of Abundance
The Power of Politics Cult Agriculture
Climatic Instability Agriculture by Accident
Production As an Outgrowth of Procurement In Perspective: Seeking Stability
Farmers and Builders, 5000 to 500 BCE
The Great River Valleys: Accelerating Change and Developing States
Growing Communities, Divergent Cultures Intensified Settlement and Its Effects The Ecology of Civilization
The Great Floodplains
The Ecology of Egypt Shifting Rivers of the Indus Valley Fierce Nature in Early Mesopotamia
The Good Earth of Early China Configurations of Society Patterns of Settlement and Labor Politics Statecraft in Mesopotamia
The First Documented Chinese State Ruling Harappan World
The Politics of Expansion Literate Culture In Perspective: What Made the Great River Valleys Different?
A Succession of Civilizations: Ambition and Instability
The Case of the Hittite Kingdom
The Importance of Trade Hittite Society and Politics Fragility and Fall
The End of the Hatti Instability and Collapse in the Aegean Cretan Civilization Mycenean Civilization
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