Four new books for ecosocialists

Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus takes a look at four new books of interest for ecosocialists. Inclusion does not imply endorsement or agreement with eveything the book says.

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Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World
Joshua B Freeman
WW Norton, 2018

The factory revolution has transformed human life and the environment. Freeman traces factory history from the textile mills in England to today’s sweatshops that make sneakers, toys and mobile phones in China and Vietnam, and shows how protest movements won workers’ rights and protections that are taken for granted today. A magisterial work on factories and the people whose labour made them run.

The Frigid Golden Age: Climate Change, the Little Ice Age, & the Dutch Republic, 1560–1720
Dagomar Degroot
Cambridge University Press, 2018

The first detailed analysis of how a society thrived amid the Little Ice Age, a period of climatic cooling that reached its chilliest point between the 16th and 18th centuries. The Little Ice Age presented not only challenges for Dutch citizens but also opportunities they aggressively exploited, offering lessons that we would be wise to heed today, as we confront the growing crisis of global warming.

Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World
Marcia Bjornerud
Princeton University Press, 2018
Knowing the rhythms of Earth’s deep past and conceiving of time as a geologist can give us the perspective we need for a more sustainable future. Marcia Bjornerud explains why understanding deep time is vital in the Anthropocene, this human epoch of accelerating planetary change, and proposes solutions for building a more time-literate society.

The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life
David Quammen
Simon & Schuster, 2018

Recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and life’s history, with implications for human health and human nature.

David Quammen’s  chronicle of the discovery of Horizontal Gene Transfer, the movement of genes between species, shows how a new view of evolution is emerging, and examines its implications for humanity’s place in the history of life.

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