New books for reds and greens. Three centuries of factories; Holland in the Little Ice Age; Thinking in deep time; Horizontal gene transfer; The physics of evolution
Ecosocialist Bookshelf is an occasional feature. We can’t review every book we receive, but we will list and link to any that seem relevant to Climate & Capitalism’s mission, along with brief descriptions. Titles listed here may be reviewed in future.
Please note: Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement, or that we agree with everything (or even anything!) the book says.
Joshua B. Freeman
A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World
W.W. Norton, 2018
The factory revolution has transformed human life and the environment. Freeman traces factory history from the textile mills in England to today’s sweatshops that make sneakers, toys, and cellphones in China and Vietnam, and shows how protest movements won worker rights and protections that are taken for granted today. A magisterial work on factories and the people whose labor made them run.
THE FRIGID GOLDEN AGE
Climate Change, the Little Ice Age, and the Dutch Republic, 1560–1720
Cambridge University Press, 2018
The first detailed analysis of how a society thrived amid the Little Ice Age, a period of climatic cooling that reached its chilliest point between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The Little Ice Age presented not only challenges for Dutch citizens but also opportunities that they aggressively exploited, offering lessons that we would be wise to heed today, as we confront the growing crisis of global warming.
How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World
Princeton University Press, 2018
Knowing the rhythms of Earth’s deep past and conceiving of time as a geologist does can give us the perspective we need for a more sustainable future. Marcia Bjornerud explains why understanding deep time is vital in the Anthropocene, this human epoch of accelerating planetary change, and proposes solutions for building a more time-literate society.
THE TANGLED TREE
A Radical New History of Life
Simon & Schuster, 2018
Recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and life’s history, with implications for human health and human nature. David Quammen’s chronicle of the discovery of Horizontal Gene Transfer, the movement of genes between species, shows how a new view of evolution is emerging, and examines its implications for humanity’s place in the history of life.
Charles S. Cockell
THE EQUATIONS OF LIFE
How Physics Shapes Evolution
Basic Books, 2018
Biologist Charles S. Cockell argues that the laws of physics narrowly constrain how life can evolve, making evolution’s outcomes predictable, because there is a narrow set of possible solutions to the challenges of existence. A radical argument about what life can and cannot be, on Earth or any other planet.
Recent book reviews in Climate and Capitalism
- Victor Wallis. RED-GREEN REVOLUTION: The Politics and Technology of Ecosocialism. reviewed by Ian Angus
- Giorgos Kallis. IN DEFENSE OF DEGROWTH: Opinions and Manifestos. reviewed by Max Ajl
- Martin Empson. ‘KILL ALL THE GENTLEMEN’: Class Struggle and Change in the English Countryside. reviewed by Ian Angus
- Paul Greenberg. THE OMEGA PRINCIPLE: Seafood and the Quest for a Long Life and a Healthier Planet. reviewed by Ian Angus
- Fred Pearce. THE NEW WILD: Why invasive species will be nature’s salvation. reviewed by Martin Empson