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Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World By John Robert McNeill,

  • Title: Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World
  • Author: John Robert McNeill
  • ISBN: 9780393321838
  • Page: 296
  • Format: Paperback
  • The history of the twentieth century is most often told through its world wars, the rise and fall of communism, or its economic upheavals In his startling new book, J R McNeill gives us our first general account of what may prove to be the most significant dimension of the twentieth century its environmental history To a degree unprecedented in human history, we haveThe history of the twentieth century is most often told through its world wars, the rise and fall of communism, or its economic upheavals In his startling new book, J R McNeill gives us our first general account of what may prove to be the most significant dimension of the twentieth century its environmental history To a degree unprecedented in human history, we have refashioned the earth s air, water, and soil, and the biosphere of which we are a part Based on exhaustive research, McNeill s story a compelling blend of anecdotes, data, and shrewd analysis never preaches it is our definitive account This is a volume in The Global Century Series general editor, Paul Kennedy.
    Something New Under the Sun An Environmental History of the Twentieth Century World The history of the twentieth century is most often told through its world wars the rise and fall of communism or its economic upheavals In his startling new book J R McNeill gives us our first gene

    One thought on “Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World”

    1. I love the big idea behind this book to write a global history of the changing world environment throughout the 20th century There is some sense in which any history of the environment has to be global, for where could we draw the line between what matters and what doesn t matter to any given setting We are one, heal the world, etc Commensurate with its big idea, McNeill s book follows big trends, beginning with global population explosions, the changing character of the world s soil, atmosphere [...]

    2. The one sentence review I just said to Joy was, We tried to do good, but we had no idea what the fuck we were doing She said that pretty much sums up the personal training field as well Maybe that is an appropriate one sentence review for humanity as a whole.

    3. I read Something new Under the Sun by John Robert McNeill I had to read this book for academic decathalon , and it was the social studies book This book is mainly about population growth throughout history It is also about the immigration around the world and how it affected the land, air, and people around it The major themes of Something New Under the Sun are that population growth and immigration are not helping the land but hurting the land in every way, and that we are using up all of our n [...]

    4. Great book A balanced, well researched look at humans impact on the environment in the 20th century A good book to hand to intellectually inclined enviro skeptics And, for that matter, to off the wall lefties.

    5. This book, which aims to present an ecological history of the 20th century, but which does than that, is one of the first really comprehensive global environmental history books I ve read It is balanced, mostly neutral in tone, has a historian s caution in interpreting past and recent events and prognoses for the future While generally well written, it is a little less engaging in the beginning but becomes better towards the end.The span is impressive effects on soil, water, air, ecosystems, an [...]

    6. In order to be an activist for change one must understand the multiple histories of all things status quo J.R McNeill lays out the facts in such a way that is informative, but importantly, encourages you to read on Too often a history text will lack a narrative, but this one does not If you d like to learn about the environmental transformations of the 20th century, anthropogenic or not, I recommend this book.

    7. In Something New Under the Sun, J.R McNeill analyzes the environmental transformations and degradations that have occurred in the past 100 years Examining vast arrays of data, McNeill details the impact of human developments and economic growth on the environment Paradoxically, the human race s unique abilities to adapt and harness the environment that have allowed it to survive millennia, might also cause such environmental problems to ultimately lead to its demise The successes of the book in [...]

    8. This environmental history is based on a fascinating premise That because of all the technological changes that the 20th century engendered, its impact on the world we live in was unlike any other era s On the demerit side, the book reads like the textbook that it is And because it casts such a wide net examining everything from whaling in Japan to groundwater in the high plains of the United States it takes on a survey like quality in which too many topics are too briefly touched upon.

    9. A very generalist environmental history of the world With a topic that big, the book tends to skip over most of the interesting historical moments in pursuit of a grand thesis that humans have changed their environment throughout time A legitimate thesis, definitely however, if you re looking for environmental history that really gets into the contexts of particular times, the contours of particular landscapes, and the conceptions of particular people, you d be better served with the wealth of [...]

    10. A fascinating history of many of the environmental problems that continue to plague the world McNeill relates these problems as a historian, replete with interesting if at times tragic anecdotes Such as the day in 1952 when particularly hazy conditions combined with an incredible amount of air pollution and stagnant winds in London resulting in the deaths of 4000 people Or the copper mine in Ashio, Japan in the 1890s which brought on so much sulfur pollution that death rates exceeded birth rates [...]

    11. a very basic, one thing after another history of environmental change around the world a topic too large to be too deep consequently, can be a bit boring.

    12. A verse in the Old Testament proclaims, there is no new thing under the sun These words come from a low tech era when nomadic herders diminished their ecosystem so slowly that little change was noticeable to the passing generations Something New Under the Sun is the title of J R McNeill s environmental history of the twentieth century It describes a high tech era when industrial society got thoroughly sloshed on cheap energy, and went on a berserk rampage, smashing everything.With the emergence [...]

    13. The subject matter might be depressing to most people, but McNeill has put together a highly readable and informative book here I feel a lot knowledgeable about the various environmental impacts the 20th century wrought on this fragile earth we call home It s a well researched wake up call that makes clear we need to do everything we can to reverse the environmental damage we have done.

    14. Being a technological buff and believing in credo of solving all problems through technological advances, this book gives a perspective from the other side of things According to me, it might explain the fermi paradox and why aliens might not have found us A really captivating read.

    15. John McNeill s SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN advances the historical idea that during the twentieth century, humans have altered the physical environment through the polluting effects of industrialization McNeill s comprehensive overview covers a broad scope of scientific systems explained clearly lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, etc as well as many case examples of particular cities and issues, and yet, the book does not overwhelm the audience with statistics or points that are to [...]

    16. I read Something New Under the Sun as a required text for a class that all students were required to take before graduating It was called The Contemporary World and had an Environmental focus I was getting my second bachelors in Nutrition and had taken courses in environmental Biology previously, but really knew nothing about the relationship between our environment and how environmental concerns affect our world economically and politically I m glad now that our university made this mandatory r [...]

    17. I really liked the last third of this book, and the first two thirds were ok For a while, McNeill is just listing ways humans changed the environment in the 20th century, and it seems like basically just a list of problems But then he closes by tying it all to a pretty clear argument A lot of the great successes humans have experienced in this century have come through supreme adaptation to the ecological circumstances that existed at the start of the century lots of oil, lots of water, lots of [...]

    18. What I learned from this book is that the 20th century is not just business as usual, much as that term is used in a derogatory way today among environmentalists Humans really had a very profound and disturbing effect on the environment The 20th century really was totally, totally different from anything that had happened before It s the hockey stick graph phenomenon, multiplied over and over again He talks about cities, biodiversity, the atmosphere, the land, the oceans, everything He has a fir [...]

    19. I was suggested to read this book by both a History and an Anthropology professor and I am very grateful that I did John McNeill offers an extensive amount of valuable information at a moderate pace that is digestible for readers Covering an expansive array of information and facts, Something New Under The Sun, does not dwell on the detriments of the twentieth century But rather focuses on how to improve things for the future of our planet Encompassing several environmental techniques, I thought [...]

    20. If you want a great history of 20th century environmental problems, challanges, and adaptability this is the book to read If you ve ever read The Human Web the writing approach is the same as well as the easily understandable diction The way this differs from The Human Web besides the fact that he didn t write this with his father is that he structures the world around the various spheres hydrosphere, biosphere, etc rather than regions or societies of the world He has many interesting examples t [...]

    21. This book was unremittingly grim The author provides a lot of very valuable information on the environmental impacts humans have inflicted on the earth during the 20th century While I can admire the depth and breadth of the author s research and the admirable manner in which he tries to stay objective and non preachy, this is still tough going This book will leave the reader feeling helpless in the face of what is happening on the global stage But no one should let that stop them from reading th [...]

    22. Very worthwhile, thoughtful argument about how technological advances particularly those related to energy extraction and exploitation really did create a different world in the 20th century The energy exploitation prism proved particularly useful for evaluating historical phenomena, and I expect to employ it in the future.I also greatly appreciated the fairly dispassionate tone of much of the book McNeill clearly has an opinion on environmentalism and the risks of neglect, but he was a fairly e [...]

    23. McNeill s 2000 book surveys the environmental impacts of industrialization and developing nations over the last century The availability of cheap plentiful clean water and cheap albeit fossil based fuel facilitated the advances, but usually at the expense of the environment McNeill has become one of the leading lights of environmental history, and this remains his most famous work His descriptions of how we have reshaped our physical world are thought provoking.

    24. McNeill s approach is unique he tackles the topic of environmental history through the environmental spheres He looks at soil separately, then air, water, life, etc It has a wide breadth of cultures put under the microscope and it doesn t have the haughty air of other books I read in the discipline I don t know if I ll keep it, but it was fairly enjoyable to read

    25. Often engaging book about a topic that could seem dry environmental history Occasional parts seem a bit tedious, like a long listing of facts, but usually one is not far from a very interesting anecdote that frames industrialization and globalization in deep historical, and not purely human centered, perspective.

    26. Makes a convincing case that the twentieth century is fundamentally different that what came before, due to the massive explosion in demography, energy use, etc The body of the book is somewhat less interesting, but the introduction is a must read.

    27. I learned a lot of interesting things like baboons outnumbered us at the start of agriculture, the Ogallala under the Great Plains is over 10,000 years old and moving inches a year Humans are the most efficient converters of energy.

    28. This is a really cool book but its breadth somehow undercuts its depth Probably a great jumping off point for find references for a number of different topics Well worth the time you might take to read it.

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