Read this (and immediately recommended it to Chris) when we were starting up The Appendix when the book came out a few years ago. I love the balanced affection for books and digital technology and their crossovers as well as the expression of friendship through collaborative partnership in work and creativity. Read it again this week as a new project with some Appendicistas gets under way.
This enormous global history of the seventeenth century both seeks to verify the epochal understanding of the century has a time of Great Crisis and investigates the connection of the widespread social upheaval to climate change during the Little Ice Age. As global history, it is impressively comprehensive while still showing the difficulties inherent to a global-scale project. England and Spain figure prominently—which is not surprising given Parker’s background—but India, China, Persia, and Japan all receive treatment on par with European states other than Spain and England. The Americas, Africa, and Australia play less of a role, but Parker acknowledges the lacuna and asserts the absence of archival and climatological data as its cause. The argument itself—the role of the Little Ice Age in generating social upheaval—is compelling, and the work seems to be a good model of the possibilities of using climatological data in a readable synthesis.