Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World [NOOK Book]

Overview

Examining aseries of El Ni?o-induced droughts and the famines that they spawnedaround the globe in the last third of the 19th century, Mike Davisdiscloses the intimate, baleful relationship between imperial arroganceand natural incident that combined to produce some of the worsttragedies in human history.

Late Victorian Holocaustsfocuses on three zones of drought and subsequent famine: India,Northern China; and Northeastern Brazil. All were ...
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Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World

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Overview

Examining aseries of El Niño-induced droughts and the famines that they spawnedaround the globe in the last third of the 19th century, Mike Davisdiscloses the intimate, baleful relationship between imperial arroganceand natural incident that combined to produce some of the worsttragedies in human history.

Late Victorian Holocaustsfocuses on three zones of drought and subsequent famine: India,Northern China; and Northeastern Brazil. All were affected by the sameglobal climatic factors that caused massive crop failures, and allexperienced brutal famines that decimated local populations. But theeffects of drought were magnified in each case because of singularlydestructive policies promulgated by different ruling elites.

Davisargues that the seeds of underdevelopment in what later became known asthe Third World were sown in this era of High Imperialism, as the pricefor capitalist modernization was paid in the currency of millions ofpeasants’ lives.
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Editorial Reviews

New Scientist
A masterly account of climatic, economic and colonial history...an impressive achievement.
New York Times Book Review
Gripping...Davis has given us a book of substantial contemporary relevance as well as great historical interest.
San Francisco Chronicle
The first to extend this powerful mixture of environmental, political and socioeconomic analysis on a worldwide scale...a scholarly text.
Amartya Sen
It is an illustrative book of the disastrous consequences of fierce economic inequality combined with a drastic imbalance of political voice and power. The late-Victorian tragedies exemplify a wider problem of human insecurity and vulnerability related, ultimately, to economic disparity and political disempowerment. The relevance of this highly informative book goes well beyond its immediate historical focus.
New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While this book will not have the impact of Davis's City of Quartz--a scathing indictment of L.A.'s environmental ravagement, economic disparity and racial divides--in a perfect world, it would. Its subject is nothing less than the creation of what we now call "The Third World," through a complex series of seemingly disparate natural and market-related events beginning in the 1870s. Davis dives into the data and journalism of the period with a vengeance, showing that the seemingly unprecedented droughts across northern Africa, India and China in the 1870s and 1890s are consistent with what we now know to be El Ni o's effects, and that it was political and market forces (which are never impersonal, Davis insists), and not a lack of potential stores and transportation, that kept grain from the more than 50 million people who starved to death. Chapters brilliantly reconstruct the political, economic, ecological and racial climate of the time, as well as the horrific deaths by hunger and thirst that besieged the peasantries of the afflicted c0untries. As in City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear and Magical Urbanism, Davis's synthetic powers, rendering mountains of data into an accessible and cogent form, are matched by his acid castigations of the murders and moral failings that have attended the advance of capitalism, and by cogent detours into the work of journalists and theorists who have come before him, decrying injustice and rallying the opposition. (Feb.) Forecast: Although this book's historical subject seems vastly removed from contemporary American life, it may get some media attention for its El Ni o-based arguments. City of Quartz still guarantees review attention for any Davis project, which may draw history buffs who haven't heard of him. His substantial core readership will seek out the book either way, and the book's synthesis of hardcore data will also hold appeal for poli-sci syllabi and university libraries. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“Davis has given us a book of substantial contemporary relevance as well as great historical interest.”—Amartya Sen

“A masterly account of climatic, economic and colonial history.”—New Scientist

“A hero of the Left, Davis is part polemicist, part historian, and all Marxist.”—Dale Peck, Village Voice

“Davis, a brilliant maverick scholar, sets the triumph of the late-nineteenth-century Western imperialism in the context of the catastrophic El Nino weather patterns at that time ... This is groundbreaking, mind-stretching stuff.”—The Independent

“Wide ranging and compelling ... a remarkable achievement.”—Times Literary Supplement

“Generations of historians largely ignored the implications [of the great famines of the late nineteenth century] and until recently dismissed them as ‘climatic accidents’ ... Late Victorian Holocausts proves them wrong.”—LA Times Best Books of 2001

“Devastating.”—The San Francisco Chronicle

“The global climate meets a globalizing political economy, the fundamentals of one clashing with the fundamentalisms of the other. Mike Davis tells the story with zest, anger, and insight.”—Stephen J. Pyne, author of World Fire

“Davis’s range is stunning ... . He combines political economy, meteorology, and ecology with vivid narratives to create a book that is both a gripping read and a major conceptual achievement. Lots of us talk about writing ‘world history’ and ‘inter-disciplinary history’: here is the genuine article.”—Kenneth Pomeranz, author of The Great Divergence

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781781680612
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 6/17/2002
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 470
  • Sales rank: 876,228
  • File size: 8 MB

Meet the Author

Mike Davis is the author of several books including Planet of Slums, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Late Victorian Holocausts, and Magical Urbanism. He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa’aloa, Hawaii.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Preface 1
A Note on Definitions 17
Pt. I The Great Drought, 1876-1878 23
1 Victoria's Ghosts 25
2 'The Poor Eat Their Homes' 61
3 Gunboats and Messiahs 91
Pt. II El Nino and the New Imperialism, 1888-1902 117
4 The Government of Hell 119
5 Skeletons at the Feast 141
6 Millenarian Revolutions 177
Pt. III Decyphering ENSO 211
7 The Mystery of the Monsoons 213
8 Climates of Hunger 239
Pt. IV The Political Ecology of Famine 277
9 The Origins of the Third World 279
10 India: The Modernization of Poverty 311
11 China: Mandates Revoked 341
12 Brazil: Race and Capital in the Nordeste 377
Glossary 395
Notes 399
Index 451
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2002

    Great Professor

    I just finished taking one of Professor Davis Classes. We used this book for reference. The book itself is not something you want to pick up and read for pleasure; it is a long and somewhat tedious book. Nevertheless, you will learn a whole deal

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2010

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    Posted December 17, 2008

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