Nature's Mutiny: How the Little Ice Age of the Long Seventeenth Century Transformed the West and Shaped the Present

Nature's Mutiny: How the Little Ice Age of the Long Seventeenth Century Transformed the West and Shaped the Present

by Philipp Blom


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“A sweeping story, embracing developments in economics and science, philosophy and exploration, religion and politics. . . . Beautifully clear.”— John Lanchester, The New Yorker

Hailed as an “arresting” (Lawrence Klepp, New Criterion) account, Nature’s Mutiny chronicles the great climate crisis of the seventeenth century that totally transformed Europe’s social and political fabric. Best-selling historian Philipp Blom reveals how a new, radically altered Europe emerged out of the “Little Ice Age” that diminished crop yields across the continent, forcing thousands to flee starvation in the countryside to burgeoning urban centers, and even froze London’s Thames, upon which British citizens erected semipermanent frost fairs with bustling kiosks, taverns, and brothels. Highlighting how politics and culture also changed drastically, Blom evokes the era’s most influential artists and thinkers who imagined groundbreaking worldviews to cope with environmental cataclysm.

As we face a climate crisis of our own, “Blom’s prodigious synthesis delivers a sharply-focused lesson for the twenty-first century: the profound effects of just a few degrees of climate change can alter the course of civilization, forever” (Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631496721
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 02/25/2020
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 93,653
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

The author of Fracture: Life and Culture in the West and The Vertigo Years, Philipp Blom was born in Hamburg in 1970. After studying in Vienna and Oxford, he worked in publishing as a journalist and translator in London and Paris. He lives in Vienna.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Winter Landscape 5

Life without Money 18

The Great Experiment 20

"God Has Abandoned Us": Europe, 1570-1600

A Monk on the Run 26

God's Wind and Waves 32

Harsh Frosts and Burning Sun 35

A Time of Confusion and a Fiery Mountain 40

Pilgrims and Their Hunger 44

Truth and Wine 45

Wine in Vienna 48

The Lights Go Out 51

Witches and Spoiled Harvests 55

The Truth in the Stars 62

Doctor Faustus 67

Infinite Worlds 72

The Tower of Books 74

The Age Of Iron

Hortus Botanicus 83

Revolutionary Places 88

The City Devours Its Children 93

The Magic of Green Cheese 97

The Great Transformation 101

A Picture of the World 109

Idle Talk and Fabrications 117

A Warning and a Call to Repent 119

Tears Too Plentiful to Count 121

The Revolution of the Barrel of a Musket 126

Sell More to Strangers 131

The State as Machine 136

A Profitable Trade 139

The Curse of Silver 144

Officer, Retired 147

The Subversive Republic of Letters 158

Germanus incredibilis 170

Virtue in the Drowning Cell 174

Leviathan 179

An Inventory of Morality 181

On Comets And Other Celestial Lights

The Madness of Crowds 185

The Antichrist 200

The Messiah and the Whore 219

The Fair on the Ice 225

The Face of Change 229

The Price of Change 233

Tapissier du roi 237

The Public Sphere and the Vices of Bees 240

The Floating Reverend 245

Epilogue: Supplement to The Fable of the Bees

Songbirds, Wood Lice, and Corals 255

Freedom and Luxury 260

Inherited Compromises 265

New Metaphors 270

The Theology of the Market 272

The Market and the Fortress 277

Acknowledgments 285

Notes 287

Bibliography 293

Illustration Credits 315

Index 317

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