Something New Under the Sun

Something New Under the Sun

An Environmental History of the Twentieth-century World

Book - 2000
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In contrast to Anna Bramwell's (Yale UP, 1989), which dealt primarily with a history of environmentalists' ideas, activities, and organizations, McNeill's history is of the human changes perpetrated on the planet, changes during what was arguably the earth's Worst Century (so far). McNeill (history, Georgetown U.) maintains that the heretofore very adaptable human species has worked itself into behaviors narrowly adapted to an abundance of cheap resources (power, water), behaviors unadaptable to conditions of nonabundance, which it would seem from the provided examples, are already here. His history is anthropocentric in that he is interested in the changes wrought upon the earth (earth, air, water, biota) because of habitation, events like Indonesian deforestation, air pollution in London, acid rain in Germany. Contra Ecclesiastes' nothing new under the sun, McNeill attempts to prove pervasive anthropogenic changes are new and worth pondering. At the same time he attempts to avoid convincing the reader such changes are good or bad and to keep sermonizing to a minimum, hoping his ideas will reach a wide (educated) readership. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2000.
ISBN: 9780393049176
Characteristics: xxvi, 421 p. :,maps ;,24 cm.


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