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Like Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, Clive Ponting's book studies the relationship between the environment and human history. It examines world civilisations from Sumeria to ancient Egypt, from Easter Island to the Roman Empire and it argues that human beings have repeatedly built societies that have grown and prospered by exploiting the Earth's resources, only to expand to the point where those resources could longer sustain the societies' populations and cause subsequent collapse. This new edition of Clive Ponting's international bestseller has been revised, expanded and updated. It provides t only a compelling story of how we have damaged the environment for thousands of years but also an up-to-the-minute assessment of the crisis facing the world today - and the problems that have to be addressed in the search for solutions.
Clive Ponting was until recently Reader in Politics and International Relations at the University of Wales, Swansea. Available in Pimlico are his most recent books: A New Green History Of The World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations; Gunpowder: From the Alchemists of China to the Battlefields of Europe; The Pimlico History of the Twentieth Century; World History: A New Perspective; Thirteen Days: The Road to the First World War; and The Crimean War. He recently took early retirement and now lives on a small Greek island where he is creating a Mediterranean garden and cultivating olives.