Global Crisis: War, Climate Change, & Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century

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Yale University Press, Mar 15, 2013 - History - 904 pages
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The acclaimed historian demonstrates a link between climate change and social unrest across the globe during the mid-17th century.

Revolutions, droughts, famines, invasions, wars, regicides, government collapses—the calamities of the mid-seventeenth century were unprecedented in both frequency and severity. The effects of what historians call the "General Crisis" extended from England to Japan and from the Russian Empire to sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.

In this meticulously researched volume, historian Geoffrey Parker presents the firsthand testimony of men and women who experienced the many political, economic, and social crises that occurred between 1618 to the late 1680s. He also incorporates the scientific evidence of climate change during this period into the narrative, offering a strikingly new understanding of the General Crisis.

Changes in weather patterns, especially longer winters and cooler and wetter summers, disrupted growing seasons and destroyed harvests. This in turn brought hunger, malnutrition, and disease; and as material conditions worsened, wars, rebellions, and revolutions rocked the world.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Steve_Walker - LibraryThing

This is an exceptional history book about a known, but little discussed, period of 17th century history known as the "Little Ice Age". Professor Parker goes into great detail about the havoc that ... Read full review

Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century

User Review  - Book Verdict

Commonly referred to as an age of "general crisis," the 17th century, within what is known as the Little Ice Age, was a period of global food shortages, ravaging diseases, brutal wars, and popular ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Americas Africa and Australia
Early Tokugawa Japan
The Parameters of Popular Resistance
Aristocrats Intellectuals Clerics and dirty people of no name
The Great Divergence
BEYOND THE CRISIS 20 Escaping the Crisis

The Great Enterprise in China 161884
Russia and the PolishLithuanian Commonwealth 161886
The Ottoman tragedy 161883
The lamentations of Germany and its Neighbours 161888
The Agony of the Iberian Peninsula 161889
France in Crisis 161888
The Path to Civil War 160342
Britain and Ireland from Civil War to Revolution 164289
From Warfare State to Welfare State
The Crisis Anatomized
Its the climate stupid

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About the author (2013)

Geoffrey Parker is a British historian specializing in Spanish and military history of the early modern era. He gained his PhD at Cambridge where he studied under Sir John Elliott, and taught at the University of Illinois, the University of St. Andrews and Yale University before becoming the Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History at The Ohio State University. He is a fellow of the British Academy, the Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Spanish-American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Academy of History (Madrid). Amongst the foreign honours he holds, he is a member of the Order of Alfonso X the Wise and was granted the Great Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic by the Spanish government. Parker has received the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize from the Society for Military History, two book prizes, and two Guggenheim awards. He is the author of one previous book for Yale, The Grand Strategy of Philip II (1998), translated into five languages, as well as seminal works on the Spanish Armada, Western military innovations 1500-1800, and worldwide military history.

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