Book Reviews

The Earth Transformed: An Untold History – Reviewed in the Atlantic

Cover of The Earth Transformed: An Untold History via Bloomsbury Publishing.

In his sweeping new book, Peter Frankopan looks at how the climate has changed human society—and how we have changed the climate.

Does climate change directly influence the weather we experience? Until recently—for the past 40 years or so—that question has followed nearly every major hurricane or flood, every record snowfall or heat wave. In some people, it provokes instant denial, often political or economic, often rooted in prideful ignorance. But the question raises a genuine analytical issue: How do we determine the effect of incremental, global atmospheric change on locally transient weather systems? And how do we assess the effect that those systems—and the climate shifts underlying them—have had on human societies in the past? These are complicated questions. Now imagine trying to answer them throughout the whole of history, from the origin of our species to the day before yesterday. That’s the task the Oxford historian Peter Frankopan undertakes in The Earth Transformed: An Untold History

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