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

An illuminating work of environmental history that chronicles the great climate crisis of the 1600s, which transformed the social and political fabric of Europe.Although hints of a crisis appeared as early as the 1570s, the temperature by the end of the sixteenth century plummeted so drastically that Mediterranean harbors 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 far-ranging consequences of this “Little Ice Age,” acclaimed historian Philipp Blom reveals how the European landscape had suddenly, but ineradicably, changed by the mid-seventeenth century. While apocalyptic weather patterns destroyed entire harvests and incited mass migrations, they gave rise to the growth of European cities, the emergence of early capitalism, and the vigorous stirrings of the Enlightenment. A timely 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. 40 black and white illustrations

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“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

“Intriguing…. this wide-ranging and affectionate portrait of 17th-century Europe has a poetic appeal.”
Publishers Weekly

“An intriguing chronicle…. A well-written, informative, and fresh look at a relevant and instructive climate disruption and will appeal to readers interested in European and environmental history as well as our own climate challenges.”
Jennifer Johnson, Booklist

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.

An illuminating work of environmental history that chronicles the great climate crisis of the 1600s, which transformed the social and political fabric of Europe.Although hints of a crisis appeared as early as the 1570s, the temperature by the end of the sixteenth century plummeted so drastically that Mediterranean harbors 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 far-ranging consequences of this “Little Ice Age,” acclaimed historian Philipp Blom reveals how the European landscape had suddenly, but ineradicably, changed by the mid-seventeenth century. While apocalyptic weather patterns destroyed entire harvests and incited mass migrations, they gave rise to the growth of European cities, the emergence of early capitalism, and the vigorous stirrings of the Enlightenment. A timely 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. 40 black and white illustrations

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