Nature's mutiny How the little Ice Age of the long seventeenth century transformed the West and shaped the present

Philipp Blom, 1970-

Book - 2019

"The hints of an impending environmental crisis appeared as early as the 1570s, as winters grew colder and crops diminished. By the turn of the seventeenth century, the temperature had plummeted so drastically that Mediterranean harbors were covered with ice, birds were dropping frozen out of the sky, and enterprising Londoners erected semipermanent frost fairs on a frozen Thames--with bustling kiosks, taverns, and even brothels. Chronicling the dramatic turmoil and the long-lasting consequ...ences of this 'Little Ice Age,' best-selling historian Philipp Blom reveals how a new, radically altered Europe emerged out of environmental cataclysm. Showing how the drastic weather patterns decimated entire harvests across the European continent, [this book] describes how populations fled the starvation and civil unrest in the countryside to bourgeoning urban centers, where the emergence of early capitalistic markets sparked the transformation of European cities. The political and cultural ramifications were no less drastic. Moving from political to intellectual events and to the arts, Blom evokes the era's most exquisite paintings, like Hendrick Avercamp's surreal depiction of an idyllic community on the ice in Winter Landscape, as well as the revolutionary ideas of Enlightenment figures, who, like Montaigne in his Essais, imagined novel worldviews to cope with what seemed like nature's vicious scourge against humankind. Now, as we face a climate crisis of our own, Blom offers exigent ways of understanding this history of the 'Little Ice Age' in light of our own society's fraught relationship with the environment. 'There must be hope,' Blom concludes, but only if we are willing to learn from the past. Ultimately, [this book] offers an essential parable of how societies struggle to survive when violent environmental changes threaten the very fabric of their civilization."--Dust jacket.

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 940.22/Blom Checked In
New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company [2019]
Item Description
Originally published in German: Die Welt aus den Angeln (München : Carl Hanser Verlag, 2017).
Physical Description
xi, 332 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Main Author
Philipp Blom, 1970- (author)
  • PROLOGUE: Winter Landscape. Life without money ; The great experiment
  • "GOD HAS ABANDONED US": Europe, 1570-1600. A monk on the run ; God's wind and waves ; Harsh frosts and burning sun ; A time of confusion and a fiery mountain ; Pilgrims and their hunger ; Truth and wine ; Wine in Vienna ; The lights go out ; Witches and spoiled harvests ; The truth in the stars ; Doctor Faustus ; Infinite worlds ; The tower of books
  • THE AGE OF IRON. Hortus botanicus ; Revolutionary places ; The city devours its children ; The magic of green cheese ; The great transformation ; A picture of the world ; Idle talk and fabrications ; A warning and a call to repent ; Tears too plentiful to count ; The revolution of the barrel of a musket ; Sell more to strangers ; The state as machine ; A profitable trade ; The curse of silver ; Officer, retired ; The subversive republic of letters ; Germanus incredibilis ; Virtue in the drowning cell ; Leviathan ; An inventory of morality
  • ON COMETS AND OTHER CELESTIAL LIGHTS. The madness of crowds ; The Antichrist ; The Messiah and the whore ; The fair on the ice ; The face of change ; The price of change ; Tapissier du roi ; The public sphere and the vices of bees ; The floating reverend
  • EPILOGUE: Supplement to The fable of the bees. Songbirds, wood lice, and corals ; Freedom and luxury ; Inherited compromises ; New metaphors ; The theology of the market ; The market and the fortress.