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Nature's Mutiny: How the Little Ice Age Transformed the West and Shaped the Present by Philipp Blom

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In this innovative and compelling work of environmental history, Philipp Blom chronicles the great climate crisis of the 1600s, a crisis that would transform the entire social and political fabric of Europe.

While hints of a crisis appeared as early as the 1570s, by the end of the sixteenth century the temperature plummeted so drastically that Mediterranean harbours were covered with ice, birds literally dropped out of the sky, and ‘frost fairs’ were erected on a frozen Thames – with kiosks, taverns, and even brothels that become a semi-permanent part of the city.

Recounting the deep legacy and sweeping consequences of this ‘Little Ice Age’, acclaimed historian Philipp Blom reveals how the European landscape had ineradicably changed by the mid-seventeenth century. While apocalyptic weather patterns destroyed entire harvests and incited mass migrations, Blom brilliantly shows how they also gave rise to the growth of European cities, the appearance of early capitalism, and the vigorous stirrings of the Enlightenment.

A sweeping examination of how a society responds to profound and unexpected change, 
Nature’s Mutiny will transform the way we think about climate change in the twenty-first century and beyond.

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Author: Philipp Blom

Format: Paperback

Size: 130 mm x 197 mm

Pages: 416

Staff Review

An interesting read. The more I read the more I couldn’t help but compare the days of Shakespeare’s to the time period we are currently living through; climate change, inflation, the cost of living crisis- and found it fascinating to see that these issues are not new but rather 100s of years old. Weather is one of the most relatable things we as humans discuss, we are fascinated by it. We are constantly aware of it, and it helps formulate our memories and stories. Having read Hamnet (Maggie O’Farrell) and The Dance Tree (Kiren Millwood Hargrave) both so cleverly paint a picture of the weather, bringing stories set in a past which could be almost unimaginable and making them relatable and visceral- at times I wondered if these authors had been in touch with and picked the brains of Philipp Blom. The level of research and knowledge behind this book is incredible and yet laid out in such a reader friendly way, making it an easy book to pick up and read as and when.

Review by Grace (Visitor Operations Assistant)