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A Companion to Global Environmental History



A Companion to Global Environmental History

J. R. McNeill (Editor), Erin Stewart Mauldin (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-444-33534-7 November 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 568 Pages

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The Companion to Global Environmental History offers multiple points of entry into the history and historiography of this dynamic and fast-growing field, to provide an essential road map to past developments, current controversies, and future developments for specialists and newcomers alike.
  • Combines temporal, geographic, thematic and contextual approaches from prehistory to the present day
  • Explores environmental thought and action around the world, to give readers a cultural, intellectual and political context for engagement with the environment in modern times
  • Brings together environmental historians from around the world, including scholars from South Africa, Brazil, Germany, and China

List of Maps x

Notes on Contributors xi

Acknowledgments xv

Global Environmental History: An Introduction xvi
J. R. McNeill and Erin Stewart Mauldin


1 Global Environmental History: The First 150,000 Years 3
J. R. McNeill

2 The Ancient World, c. 500 BCE to 500 CE 18
J. Donald Hughes

3 The Medieval World, 500 to 1500 CE 39
Daniel Headrick

4 The (Modern) World since 1500 57
Robert B. Marks


5 Southeast Asia in Global Environmental History 81
Peter Boomgaard

6 Environmental History in Africa 96
Jane Carruthers

7 Latin America in Global Environmental History 116
Shawn W. Miller

8 The United States in Global Environmental History 132
Erin Stewart Mauldin

9 The Arctic and Subarctic in Global Environmental History 153
Liza Piper

10 The Middle East in Global Environmental History 167
Alan Mikhail

11 Australia in Global Environmental History 182
Libby Robin

12 Oceania: The Environmental History of One-Third of the Globe 196
Paul D'Arcy

13 The Environmental History of the Soviet Union 222
Stephen Brain

14 The Grasslands of North America and Russia 247
David Moon

15 Global Forests 263
Nancy Langston

16 Fishing and Whaling 279
Micah S. Muscolino

17 Riverine Environments 297
Alan Roe

18 War and the Environment 319
Richard P. Tucker

19 Technology and the Environment 340
Paul Josephson

20 Cities and the Environment 360
Jordan Bauer and Martin V. Melosi

21 Evolution and the Environment 377
Edmund Russell

22 Climate Change in Global Environmental History 394
Sam White

23 Industrial Agriculture 411
Meredith McKittrick

24 Biological Exchange in Global Environmental History 433
J. R. McNeill


25 Environmentalism in Brazil: A Historical Perspective 455
José Augusto Pádua

26 Environmentalism and Environmental Movements in China since 1949 474
Bao Maohong

27 Religion and Environmentalism 493
Joachim Radkau

28 The Environmentalism of the Poor: Its Origins and Spread 513
Joan Martinez-Alier

Index 530

“This broad-ranging and ambitious book, edited by J.R. McNeill and Erin Stewart Mauldin, sees the welcome convergence of two fertile historiographical trends of the past several decades: globalism and environmentalism. . . Nevertheless, the editors have produced a volume of a consistently high standard, with all the essays of good quality.”  (English Historical Review, 1 August 2014)

“In 28 chapters, the book provides a broad introduction that is aimed at historians with an interest in striking topics and issues as well as at environmental history researchers wishing to widen or deepen their knowledge.”  (H-Soz-u-Kult, June 2014)

"There is much in this book that will be of interest to environmentalists, geographers and politicians, and the general public. Environmental historians should find this a useful overview of their topic."  (Reference Reviews, Vol. 28 no. 1, 2014) 

"Those whose interest is world environmental history will find this book a pleasure to read from cover to cover, and the bibliographies are current and extensive."  (Choice, September 2013)