Pub. Date:
Yale University Press
Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century

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

by Geoffrey ParkerGeoffrey Parker
Current price is , Original price is $27.5. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.


How to account for decades of worldwide war, revolution, and human suffering in the seventeenth century? A master historian uncovers the disturbing answer.

Revolutions, droughts, famines, invasions, wars, regicides – the calamities of the mid-seventeenth century were not only unprecedented, they were agonisingly widespread.  A global crisis extended from England to Japan, and from the Russian Empire to sub-Saharan Africa. North and South America, too, suffered turbulence. The distinguished historian Geoffrey Parker examines first-hand accounts of men and women throughout the world describing what they saw and suffered during a sequence of political, economic and social crises that stretched from 1618 to the 1680s. Parker also deploys scientific evidence concerning climate conditions of the period, and his use of ‘natural’ as well as ‘human’ archives transforms our understanding of the World Crisis. Changes in the prevailing weather patterns during the 1640s and 1650s – longer and harsher winters, and cooler and wetter summers – disrupted growing seasons, causing dearth, malnutrition, and disease, along with more deaths and fewer births. Some contemporaries estimated that one-third of the world died, and much of the surviving historical evidence supports their pessimism.

Parker’s demonstration of the link between climate change and worldwide catastrophe 350 years ago stands as an extraordinary historical achievement.  And the contemporary implications of his study are equally important: are we at all prepared today for the catastrophes that climate change could bring tomorrow?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300208634
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 10/21/2014
Pages: 904
Sales rank: 204,882
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.10(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

The winner of the 2012 Heineken Prize for History, Geoffrey Parker is Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History and Associate of the Mershon Center at The Ohio State University. He lives in Columbus, OH.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Prologue: Did Someone Say 'Climate Change'? xv

Introduction: The 'Little Ice Age' and the 'General Crisis' xxi

Part I The Placenta of the Crisis 1

1 The Little Ice Age 3

2 The 'General Crisis' 26

3 'Hunger is the greatest enemy': The Heart of the Crisis 55

4 ?A third of the world has died': Surviving in the Seventeenth Century 77

Part II Enduring the Crisis 111

5 The 'Great Enterprise' in China, 1618-84 115

6 'The great shaking': Russia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, 1618-86 152

7 The 'Ottoman tragedy', 1618-83 185

8 The 'lamentations of Germany' and its Neighbours, 1618-88 211

9 The Agony of the Iberian Peninsula, 1618-89 254

10 France in Crisis, 1618-88 291

11 The Stuart Monarchy: The Path to Civil War, 1603-42 324

12 Britain and Ireland from Civil War to Revolution, 1642-89 359

Part III Surviving the Crisis 397

13 The Mughals and their Neighbours 399

14 Red Flag over Italy 421

15 The 'dark continents': The Americas, Africa and Australia 445

16 Getting it Right: Early Tokugawa Japan 484

Part IV Confronting the Crisis 507

17 'Those who have no means of support': The Parameters of Popular Resistance 509

18 'People who hope only for a change': Aristocrats, Intellectuals, Clerics and 'dirty people of no name' 534

19 'People of heterodox beliefs … who will join up with anyone who calls them': Disseminating Revolution 561

Part V Beyond the Crisis 587

20 Escaping the Crisis 591

21 From Warfare State to Welfare State 612

22 The Great Divergence 642

Conclusion: The Crisis Anatomized 668

Epilogue: 'It's the climate, stupid' 686

Chronology 698

Acknowledgements 705

Note on Conventions 709

Note on Sources and Bibliography 710

Abbreviations Used in the Bibliography and Notes 714

Notes 718

Bibliography 794

Index 846

Customer Reviews