Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World
"In the course of the twentieth century the human race, without intending anything of the sort, has undertaken a giant, uncontrolled experiment on the earth. In time, according to J.R. McNeill in his startling new book, the environmental dimension of twentieth-century history will overshadow the importance of events like the world wars, the rise and fall of communism, and the spread of mass literacy. Contrary to the wisdom of Ecclesiastes that "there is nothing new under the sun," McNeill sets out to show that the massive change we have wrought in our physical world has indeed created something new. To a degree unprecedented in human history, we have refashioned the earth's air, water, and soil, and the biosphere of which we are a part." "McNeill's work is a fruitful compound of history and science. McNeill infuses a substrate of ecology with a lively historical sensibility to the significance of politics, international relations, technological change, and great events. He charts and explores the breathtaking ways in which we have changed the natural world with a keen eye for character and a refreshing respect for the unforeseen in history."--Jacket.
W. W. Norton and Company