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The Curse of Akkad: Climate Upheavals that Rocked Human History

Overview

Dramatic accounts of turbulent natural forces that shaped civilizations.

When Sargon of Akkad created the world's first empire 4,000 years ago, he thought none could conquer his powerful kingdom. He was wrong. A disastrous drought in Mesopotamia helped topple the Akkadian civilization.

Similar climate-related events rocked other civilizations. Ancient Rome experienced a catastrophic 18 months of darkness, possibly from a volcanic eruption half ...

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Overview

Dramatic accounts of turbulent natural forces that shaped civilizations.

When Sargon of Akkad created the world's first empire 4,000 years ago, he thought none could conquer his powerful kingdom. He was wrong. A disastrous drought in Mesopotamia helped topple the Akkadian civilization.

Similar climate-related events rocked other civilizations. Ancient Rome experienced a catastrophic 18 months of darkness, possibly from a volcanic eruption half a world away. Mayan society in Mexico began to crumble when fresh water became scarce. And both ancient Egypt and ancient China were transformed by failed crops and starving citizens.

While many wonder how today's warming climate will affect our future, The Curse of Akkad explores capricious climate shifts of the past. From an ice age that gave humans an evolutionary leg up to an El Ni-o that frustrated the battle plans of Hitler, author Peter Christie shows that the prevailing weather of a place is not simply a backdrop to important events, but often a critical player.

The Curse of Akkad is an acclaimed writer's exciting and enlightening look at climate's frequent place at the helm of human history.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susan Borges
This detailed nonfiction text contains a series of dramatic stories that demonstrate the importance of climate as a force that has shaped human history. Curious readers are drawn to the title of the book, which refers to the major event that rocked the eastern world 4,200 years ago when there was a massive drought followed by strong winds, similar to the ancient story of Noah's flood. This book is not for readers uninterested in the topic. It is rich with details about dramatic, life-changing events that have occurred throughout the world in far-reaching places. In these situations weather has been the main character, rather than the backdrop, and the other characters have included war, disease, technology and cultural differences. The main message of this text is that climate has always changed, but now it is changing at an alarmingly fast rate. There is a huge amount of information in this text. It is organized into chapters that discuss historical facts in chronological sequence, while zooming in on specific examples of climatic change. Each page has detailed, well-captioned illustrations that aid in the comprehension of the text. There is also a complete index, a table of contents, and a well-organized bibliography for additional information. For the science or history buff, this book will be a great source of information and it will serve as an excellent source of information in an upper elementary or middle school science classroom. Reviewer: Susan Borges
School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up

In a refreshing look at climate change, Christie discusses the ways in which environmental conditions have shaped human history. The chapters, each discussing a different aspect of climate change, are arranged in loose chronological order. Every section opens with a fictionalized account featuring either an imagined or a real historical figure. The author then explains how climate change caused the events to occur. For example, one section introduces Ekidu, a 13-year-old laboring in Mesopotamia in 2200 B.C.E. to construct a government building. Before it can be completed, Ekidu and his fellow citizens are forced to abandon the area as famine hits. Christie goes on to explain that archaeological records suggest that a 300-year drought devastated the Middle East, also impacting the Egyptians and Harappans. As a result, some ancient civilizations seem to have evaporated, leaving little record of their existence. Other featured climate changes include ice ages, droughts, volcanoes, and currents. The book is well researched. Its only potential downfall is in the layout; sidebars, which appear on almost every other page, occasionally interrupt the flow of the narrative, but do make the book more visually attractive. In all, the text is readable, and connecting science to history opens the topic of climate change to a wider range of students.-Lindsay Cesari, Baldwinsville School District, NY

Booklist
Tailor-made for reluctant readers, this sweeping survey of the effects of climate change on human civilization is presented in digestible segments.
— John Peters
Canadian Teacher
This is a fascinating history of climate and the impact it has had on civilizations throughout history. Christie writes about major weather events: floods, droughts, volcanoes and other occurrences that have had catastrophic effects on the land, people and civilizations impacted. Much of the book details happenings from long ago, such as the fate of the Harappan society, which flourished about the same time as ancient Egypt and all but disappeared from history—probably destroyed by a crop-killing drought. However, Christie also touches on the impact we humans have today on the environment and what this means and will mean to our civilization. A great read, with lots of interesting sidebars; this one is sure to captivate readers.
Booklist - John Peters
Tailor-made for reluctant readers, this sweeping survey of the effects of climate change on human civilization is presented in digestible segments of one to three pages, some laced with melodramatic packages....The subject is compellingly topical... Useful reading lists are appended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554511198
  • Publisher: Annick Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/14/2008
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,312,338
  • Age range: 11 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Christie is a science writer and editor whose work has appeared in many newspapers and magazines and his other books for young readers include Naturally Wild Musicians: The Wondrous World of Animal Song and Well-Schooled Fish and Feathered Bandits: The Wondrous Ways Animals Learn from Animals. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.

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