From the author of The Little Ice Age, a wide-ranging and surprising look at how climate changes have affected the whole of human history
Fagan (anthropology, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) is an author with many books to his credit, including two that focus on the impact of climatic conditions upon historical developments. In his latest exploration of this subject, Fagan looks at the effect of rising temperatures over the past 15,000 years and how this has influenced human civilizations. While most of human evolution occurred during the Ice Age, it is only when glaciers started to recede and temperatures and sea levels started to rise that humans invented agricultural techniques, which led them to build permanent cities and communities. Recent analysis of climate records during this warm period (the Holocene) provides the framework against which historical transitions are now being studied. Fagan postulates that changes due to warming led to the cattle-herding culture among ancient Egyptians and the Masai; Middle Eastern droughts spawned plant cultivation; rising sea levels created the Persian Gulf and Fertile Crescent, which generated the rise of Mesopotamia. Extremely readable and thought-provoking, this book should appeal to many people, including those concerned with global warming and its implications for the future. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll. Lib., Kansas City, MO Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.