THE GARDENS OF THEIR DREAMS: Desertification and Culture in World History

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9781856497992: THE GARDENS OF THEIR DREAMS: Desertification and Culture in World History

This magnificent history of the desert relates the human consequences of its relentless expansion. As a result of the past several thousand years, the Great Desert now stretches in almost unbroken continuity from Mauritania's Atlantic seaboard through the Middle East and Central Asia to the Great Wall of China. The author seeks to understand how the great civilizations in the original "green lands" of North Africa, Ancient Egypt, the Middle East, South Asia, and China responded and changed under the pressure of invaders fleeing growing environmental degradation in the surrounding deserts. In fascinating detail, Brian Griffith's cultural history of the deserts of Africa and Asia shows how the expanding wasteland fundamentally reshaped people's images of nature, women, politics, and religion.

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Over the past 7,000 years, a desert slowly spread through the center of the Old World. Our ancestors watched as patches of desolation appeared in the landscape like holes in worn-out cloth. The affected regions had been deserts before in previous arid ages. But now human civilizations were on hand to witness and participate in the desiccation. Eventually the "true deserts" came to resemble the moon, or the sandstorm plains of Mars. Where the web of life is stripped to the bone, this is how it looks.

According to many desert peoples' beliefs, their ancestors were cast out from a garden of paradise, as a punishment for their sins. Since that time they struggled or wandered in a kind of exile. Their true home, if they ever found it in a promised land or another world, would resemble the gardens of their dreams.

Over vast regions of the earth people have already lived in a wasteland for hundreds of years. Our history is a series of collisions, as wave after wave of migrants from the lands of scarcity invaded China, India, Africa and Europe. In a panoramic view we can trace the impact of environmental decline on women, politics, economics, and religion. We can also discern what is working to heal the world.

About the Author:

Brian Griffith studied history at the University of Alberta. He now works as a freelance editor and writer.

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Brian Griffith
Published by Zed (2001)
ISBN 10: 1856497992 ISBN 13: 9781856497992
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Book Description Zed, 2001. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 293685

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