Why this book?
This book offers a magisterial survey of the last 10,000 years and puts human history firmly in its full environmental context. There are many different ways of writing about the past, but historical writing is above all about how and why things change over time, about the causal dynamics underlying how societies, economies, and cultures work and transform. But in order to achieve this historians have first of all to establish a narrative – their own particular narrative – and it is their critical analysis of the ways in which this narrative can be constructed that helps us understand the past and that can help inform our understanding of the present. This book succeeds wonderfully in this fundamental task.