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.