Review by Choice Review
The emerging field of environmental history has the ability to provide new insights into how we see the past. It is a new intellectual discipline that is asking profound questions and forging new ideas and answers. To date, most work in the field has taken a narrow perspective, examining how individual societies have influenced or been influenced by their surroundings. Yet environmental issues know no boundaries, so broader, global perspectives and connections need to drive the discipline. This is the strength that The Environment and World History offers. This volume emerged as the result of a 1998 National Endowment for the Humanities workshop organized by Burke, one of the book's editors. The 11 essays cover a wide range of environmental issues, time periods, and regions. What is novel, however, is how each author integrates the environmental issue at hand with cultural forces that were simultaneously affecting the society and puts them into a global perspective. For example, a chapter by Michael Adas traces the environmental impact that colonial rice frontiers had on the great river deltas of 19th- and early-20th-century Southeast Asia, and compares this expansion with those opened up by European settlers in places like the American West and Australia. Summing Up: Recommended. Academic audiences, upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty. F. T. Kuserk Moravian College
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