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Civilizations : Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature

Civilizations : Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature - 01 edition

ISBN13: 978-0743202497

Cover of Civilizations : Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature 01 (ISBN 978-0743202497)
ISBN13: 978-0743202497
ISBN10: 074320249X
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 01
Publisher: Touchstone Books
Published: 2001
International: No

List price: $32.99

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Civilizations : Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature - 01 edition

ISBN13: 978-0743202497

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

ISBN13: 978-0743202497
ISBN10: 074320249X
Cover type: Paperback
Edition/Copyright: 01
Publisher: Touchstone Books

Published: 2001
International: No
Summary

Erudite, wide-ranging, a work of dazzling scholarship written with extraordinary flair, Civilizations redefines the subject that has fascinated historians from Thucydides to Gibbon to Spengler to Fernand Braudel: the nature of civilization.

To the author, Oxford historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto, a society's relationship to climate, geography, and ecology are paramount in determining its degree of success. ''Unlike previous attempts to write the comparative history of civilizations,'' he writes, ''it is arranged environment by environment, rather than period by period or society by society.'' Thus, for example, tundra civilizations of Ice Age Europe are linked with those of the Inuit of the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi Mound Builders with the deforesters of eleventh-century Europe.

Civilizations brilliantly connects the world of ecologist, geologist, and geographer with the panorama of cultural history.

Author Bio

Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe : Queen Mary University of London / Oxford University

Felipe Fernández-Armesto is a Professorial Fellow of Queen Mary University of London, and a member of the Modern History Faculty at Oxford University. He is the author of twelve books, including Millennium and Truth: A History.

Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction: THE ITCH TO CIVILIZE


Civilizations and Civilization
The Civilizing Ingredient
The Glutinous Environment
The Mask and Apollo: Recent Definitions and Approaches
Reaching Between Civilizations -- and Reaching for the Unity of Civilization
Process and Progress
The Checklist of Civilization
Back to Nature: Array by Environment
Two Cheers for Civilization


PART ONE: THE WASTE LAND
Desert, Tundra, Ice

Chapter One: THE HELM OF ICE
ICE WORLDS AND TUNDRA AS HUMAN HABITATS

The Ice Age in Europe -- Northern Scandinavia -- Asiatic Tundra -- Arctic America -- Greenland

Beyond the Gates of Gog: The Savage North
Followers of the Ice
The Tamers of Reindeer
Companions of the Seal Bladders: Deference to Nature in Arctic America
Better Than Civilization: The Inuit in Competition with Europeans

Chapter Two: THE DEATH OF EARTH
ADAPTATION AND COUNTERADAPTATION IN DESERTS OF SAND

The North American Southwest -- Northern Peru -- the Sahara -- the Gobi -- the Kalahari

Learning from Hohokam: How to Build Civilization in the Desert
The Lakes of Worms: The Limits of Civilization in the Sahara
Lands of Unrest: Desert Highways Between Civilizations
Spirits of the Slippery Hills: Bushmen and Civilization


PART TWO: LEAVES OF GRASS
Barely Cultivable Grasslands

Chapter Three: THE SWEEPINGS OF THE WIND
PRAIRIE AND GRASSY SAVANNA

The Great Plains -- the African Savanna -- the Sahel

The Intractable Grasslands
The Architects of the Savanna
Imperialists of the Sahel

Chapter Four: THE HIGHWAY OF CIVILIZATIONS

THE EURASIAN STEPPE
The Wastes of Gog
A Confucian Contemplates the Wild
The Making of Mongol Imperialism
The Mongol Roads: Causeways of Civilization


PART THREE: UNDER THE RAIN
Civilization in Tropical Lowlands and Postglacial Forests

Chapter Five: THE WILD WOODS
POSTGLACIAL AND TEMPERATE WOODLAND

Cases of Deforestation -- the American Bottom -- North American Temperate Forests -- Europe

The Fear of Trees: Learning to Clear the Forests
The Great Wet: Early Civilizations of the North American Woodlands
The Longhouse of Elm: Civilization by the Evergreen Frontier
Riding the Lumber Raft: Europe After the Forest
The Retreat of the Trees: From Forests to Cities in Twelfth-Century Europe

Chapter Six: HEARTS OF DARKNESS
TROPICAL LOWLANDS

Frederik Hendrik Island -- the Olmec Heartland -- Low Amazonia -- the Lowland Maya Lands -- the Valleys of the Khmer -- Benin City

The Habitable Hell: Cultivating the Swamp
Amazon Lands: The Challenge of the Rain Forest
The Tongue in the Stones: The Lowland Maya
The Beloved of the Snake: Khmer Civilization on the Mekong
The City of Death: Benin


PART FOUR: THE SHINING FIELDS OF MUD
Alluvial Soils in Drying Climates

Chapter Seven: THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS
MISLEADING CASES IN THE NEAR EAST

The Carsamba floodplain -- the Jordan Valley -- Sumer and Egypt

The Yielding Soil: Early Intensifiers of Agriculture
The Garden of the Lord: Alluvial Archetypes
Back from Diffusion: The Great River Valleys
From Sumer to Babylon
Out of the Underworld: The "Gift of the Nile"

Chapter Eight: OF SHOES AND RICE
TRANSCENDING ENVIRONMENTS OF ORIGIN IN CHINA AND INDIA

The Indus, Yellow, and Yangtze Rivers

Seals in the Sand: Lost Cities of the Indus and the Origins of India
Millet and Rice, River and River: The Making of China
The Checklist of Shang Civilization
The Phoenix of the East: The Survival of China
Expansion Without Mutation: The Chinese Grossraum


PART FIVE: THE MIRRORS OF SKY
Civilizing Highlands

Chapter Nine: THE GARDENS OF THE CLOUDS
THE HIGHLAND CIVILIZATIONS OF THE NEW WORLD

Mesoamerica and the Andes

Altitude and Isolation: Classifying Highland Civilizations
Ascent to Tiahuanaco: Predecessors of the Inca
Places for the Gods: The Context of the Aztecs
Contrasting Worlds: The Aztecs and Inca Juxtaposed
The Vengeance of the Tribute-Bearers: Environment and Empire

Chapter Ten: THE CLIMB TO PARADISE
THE HIGHLAND CIVILIZATIONS OF THE OLD WORLD

New Guinea -- Zimbabwe -- Ethiopia -- Iran -- Tibet

The Last El Dorado
The African Predicament
The Mountains of Rasselas: Civilization in Ethiopia
High Roads of Civilization: Overlooking Asian Trade Routes
Looking Down from Tibet


PART SIX: THE WATER MARGINS
Civilizations Shaped by the Sea

Chapter Eleven: THE ALLOTMENTS OF THE GODS
SMALL-ISLAND CIVILIZATIONS

The "South Seas" -- Hawaii and Easter Island -- the Aleutians -- the Maldives -- Malta -- Minoan Crete -- Venice

The Tangle of Isles: Polynesian Navigation
Surviving Isolation: Hawaii and Easter Island
The Wind's Nest: The Islands of the Aleut
Ports of Call: From the Maldives to Malta
The Wreck of Paradise: Minoan Crete
The Creature of the Lagoon: Venice as a Small-Island Civilization

Chapter Twelve: THE VIEW FROM THE SHORE
THE NATURE OF SEABOARD CIVILIZATIONS

The Oran laut -- Phoenicia and Scandinavia -- the Maritime Netherlands

The Sea People: Adapting to the Waves
The Narrow Shores: Phoenicia and Scandinavia
The Atlantic Edge
The Frustrations of Rimland: The Early Phase
"An Equilibrium of Mud and Water": Coaxing Civilization from the Shoals
Beyond the Beach: Identifying Seaboard Civilizations

Chapter Thirteen: CHASING THE MONSOON
SEABOARD CIVILIZATIONS OF MARITIME ASIA

Japan -- Maritime Arabia -- Southeast Asia -- Coromandel and Gujarat -- Fukien

Riders of the Typhoon: Maritime Japan
Caravans of the Monsoon: The Arabs and Their Seas
The Ring of the Snake: The Seas of Southeast Asia
The Seas of Milk and Butter: Maritime India
China's Frontier to the Sea: Fukien

Chapter Fourteen: THE TRADITION OF ULYSSES
THE GREEK AND ROMAN SEABOARDS

Boeotia -- the Greeks Overseas -- Athens -- the Aegean and Ionian Seas -- Rome -- the Roman Empire -- the Renaissances and Their Settings

The Plow and the Prow: A Conversation with Hesiod
The Pursuit of Galatea: Greece Takes to the Sea
The Claim of Poseidon: Athens and the Sea
A Hellenic Cruise: Five Wonders of Antiquity
Around the Middle Sea: Ancient Rome as a Seaboard Civilization
The Reach of the Classics: The Global Spread of the Greek and Roman Legacies


PART SEVEN: BREAKING THE WAVES
The Domestication of the Oceans


Chapter Fifteen: ALMOST THE LAST ENVIRONMENT
THE RISE OF OCEANIC CIVILIZATIONS

From the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic -- from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean

The Muslim Lake
The Precocity of the Indian Ocean
From the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic: The Shadow of Vasco da Gama
The Round Trip of Vasco da Gama

Chapter Sixteen: REFLOATING ATLANTIS
THE MAKING OF ATLANTIC CIVILIZATION

Cultural Transmission from Europe to America and Back

The Origins of the European Atlantic
The Technological Strand
The Power of Culture
The Tyranny of the Timing
Atlantic Civilization in Black and White: The Imperial Phase
The World the Slaves Made

Chapter Seventeen: THE ATLANTIC AND AFTER
ATLANTIC SUPREMACY AND THE GLOBAL OUTLOOK

From the Atlantic to the Pacific -- from the Pacific to the World

Crises and Renewals of Atlantic Civilization
The Limits and Limitations of Western Civilization
Next Stop after the Atlantic
The Revenge of Nature
The Self-Threatened Menace
The Last Ocean
Epilogue: In Derek Jarman's Garden
Notes

Index

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