Nature's Mutiny

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

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'Europe where the sun dares scarce appear
For freezing meteors and congealed cold.' - Christopher Marlowe

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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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 130 x 197 x 24mm | 252g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 16pp
  • 1509890432
  • 9781509890439
  • 4,735

Table of contents

Unit - 1: PROLOGUE: Winter Landscape

Chapter - 1: Life without Money
Chapter - 2: The Great Experiment

Unit - 2: "GOD HAS ABANDONED US": Europe, 1570-1600

Chapter - 3: A Monk on the Run
Chapter - 4: God's Wind and Waves
Chapter - 5: Harsh Frosts and Burning Sun
Chapter - 6: A Time of Confusion and a Fiery Mountain
Chapter - 7: Pilgrims and Their Hunger
Chapter - 8: Truth and Wine
Chapter - 9: Wine in Vienna
Chapter - 10: The Lights Go Out
Chapter - 11: Witches and Spoiled Harvests
Chapter - 12: The Truth in the Stars
Chapter - 13: Doctor Faustus
Chapter - 14: Infinite Worlds
Chapter - 15: The Tower of Books


Chapter - 16: Hortus Botanicus
Chapter - 17: Revolutionary Places
Chapter - 18: The City Devours Its Children
Chapter - 19: The Magic of Green Cheese
Chapter - 20: The Great Transformation
Chapter - 21: A Picture of the World
Chapter - 22: Idle Talk and Fabrications
Chapter - 23: A Warning and a Call to Repent
Chapter - 24: Tears Too Plentiful to Count
Chapter - 25: The Revolution of the Barrel of a Musket
Chapter - 26: Sell More to Strangers
Chapter - 27: The State as Machine
Chapter - 28: A Profitable Trade
Chapter - 29: The Curse of Silver
Chapter - 30: Officer, Retired
Chapter - 31: The Subversive Republic of Letters
Chapter - 32: Germanus incredibilis
Chapter - 33: Virtue in the Drowning Cell
Chapter - 34: Leviathan
Chapter - 35: An Inventory of Morality


Chapter - 36: The Madness of Crowds
Chapter - 37: The Antichrist
Chapter - 38: The Messiah and the Whore
Chapter - 39: The Fair on the Ice
Chapter - 40: The Face of Change
Chapter - 41: The Price of Change
Chapter - 42: Tapissier du roi
Chapter - 43: The Public Sphere and the Vices of Bees
Chapter - 44: The Floating Reverend

Unit - 5: EPILOGUE: Supplement to The Fable of the Bees

Chapter - 45: Songbirds, Wood Lice, and Corals
Chapter - 46: Freedom and Luxury
Chapter - 47: Inherited Compromises
Chapter - 48: New Metaphors
Chapter - 49: The Theology of the Market
Chapter - 50: The Market and the Fortress

Acknowledgements - i: Acknowledgments
Section - ii: Notes
Section - iii: Bibliography
Section - iiii: Illustration Credits
Index - v: Index
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Review quote

Provocative . . . lively and intelligent * Literary Review * Lively . . . an eye-catchingly grand thesis * Sunday Times * A sweeping story, embracing developments in economics and science, philosophy and exploration, religion and politics. Blom delivers much of his argument through compressed, beautifully clear life sketches of prominent men. [...] Blom's hypothesis is forceful, and has the potential to be both frightening and, if you hold it up to the light at just the right angle, a little optimistic. The idea can be put like this: climate change changes everything -- John Lanchester * New Yorker * "Drawing on rich sources, including diaries, letters, account ledgers, paintings, and religious sermons as well as data gleaned by climate historians and scientists, journalist and translator Blom creates a vivid picture of the European landscape during the Little Ice Age and of social, political, and cultural changes that may have been accelerated by climate change ... An absorbing and revealing portrait of profound natural disaster. * Kirkus Reviews * An imposing panorama of politics, economics and intellectual history ... [Blom] has written an informative history of the early modern age, which also prompts us to think about the connections between climate and innovation. * Deutschlandfunk Andruck * A case study that connects the birth of the modern world with the climate change of the time. A fascinating panorama of a whole era. * Freie Presse * An exciting history book, and an educational one. * Stern * A book that skilfully creates a historical panorama, in such a gripping and thrillingly informative way that it's a joy. * Giessener Allgemeine Zeitung *
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About Philipp Blom

Philipp Blom was born in 1970 in Hamburg and grew up in Detmold, in Germany. After university studies in Vienna and Oxford, he obtained a D.Phil in Modern History. He started writing at Oxford and published a novel as well as occasional journalism, moving on to London, where he worked as an editor, translator, writer and freelance journalist, contributing to newspapers, magazines and radio programmes in Great Britain, the US, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, and France.

In 2001, Philipp Blom moved to Paris to concentrate on his books. In 2007 he settled in Vienna, where he continues to write nonfiction, such as Nature's Mutiny, as well as fiction, films, and occasional journalism. He presents a cultural discussion programme on Austrian national radio and has lectured on history, philosophy, and cultural history in Europe, the US, and South America. He is married to Veronica Buckley, who is also a writer.
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