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Home » Books » History » Latin America » General

An Environmental History of Latin America

New Approaches to the Americas

By Shawn William Miller

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Format: Hardcover, 257 pages
Other Information: Illustrated
Published In: United Kingdom, 01 September 2007
A narration of the mutually mortal historical contest between humans and nature in Latin America. Covering a period that begins with Amerindian civilizations and concludes in the region's present urban agglomerations, the work offers an original synthesis of the current scholarship on Latin America's environmental history and argues that tropical nature played a central role in shaping the region's historical development. Human attitudes, populations, and appetites, from Aztec cannibalism to more contemporary forms of conspicuous consumption, figure prominently in the story. However, characters such as hookworms, whales, hurricanes, bananas, dirt, butterflies, guano, and fungi make more than cameo appearances. Recent scholarship has overturned many of our egocentric assumptions about humanity's role in history. Seeing Latin America's environmental past from the perspective of many centuries illustrates that human civilizations, ancient and modern, have been simultaneously more powerful and more vulnerable than previously thought.

Table of Contents

Introduction: props and scenery; 1. An old world before it was 'new'; 2. Nature's conquests; 3. The colonial balance sheet; 4. Tropical determinism; 5. Human determination; 6. Asphyxiated habitats; 7. Developing environmentalism; Epilogue: Cuba's latest revolution.

About the Author

Shawn W. Miller is the author of Fruitless Trees: Portuguese Conservation and Brazil's Colonial Timber (2000), and has published on Latin America's environmental history in the Hispanic American Historical Review, Forest & Conservation History, and Colonial Latin American Historical Review.

Reviews

"For years to come, studies of Latin American environmental history will have to begin with references to Shawn Miller's book." -Alfred W. Crosby, Professor Emeritus of American Studies, History, and Geography, University of Texas at Austin "Sailing over the last six centuries in just over two hundred pages, Shawn Miller presents readers with a magnificent panorama of the turbulent environmental history of Latin America. Specialists, students, and general readers will all find Miller's pages intellectually intriguing and often entertaining. A delightful book and an important story." -J. R. McNeill, Georgetown University, author of Something New Under the Sun "Shawn Miller has done us a great favor. He has synthesized the Latin American environmental history literature from the past fifteen years, without leaving earlier works behind, to produce the first general text of its kind. [...] It should find an audience in any classroom tackling the topic. [...] One book cannot cover everything, although this one almost does." -Myrna I. Santiago, Saint Mary's College of California, The Americas

EAN: 9780521848534
ISBN: 0521848539
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Dimensions: 23.93 x 16.15 x 2.06 centimetres (0.49 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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