Book by Ponting, Clive
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In 1991, British political scientist Clive Ponting published A Green History of the World, an ambitious overview of the many intersections between human events and the environment. He has followed it with an equally ambitious--and just as valuable--survey of world history in an era, he notes at the outset, marked by "the fact that the chance of a relatively stable and prosperous life has been confined to a very small and lucky minority of the world's people." For the rest, the 20th century has been marked by huge economic and societal shifts, by the rise of a global political order countered against a "huge increase in the number of states in the world" due to the end of European colonialism and the rise of countless varieties of nationalism.
Ponting has a fine eye for historical trends; he groups his discussions in sweeping chapters bearing titles such as "Revolution," "Repression," and "Globalization." Skipping about from theme to theme, the narrative is not strictly chronological--and thus sometimes a challenge to follow. But Ponting has an admirably clear style and a knack for storytelling with appropriate (and sometimes unpleasant) detail as he moves from war to war, atrocity to atrocity. Ponting's look ahead to the next millennium, with which he closes his volume, is both fascinating and sobering. "Given the way the world evolved in the twentieth century and the distribution of economic and political power at the end of the century," he writes, "it seems likely that, as in the past, the world will, over the next few decades, continue to be characterized by progress for a minority and barbarism for the overwhelming majority." --Gregory McNameeFrom Kirkus Reviews:
A bland and frustratingly abstract examination that emphasizes theoretical concepts, paying scant attention to specific people, places, and events. Ponting (Politics/Univ. of Wales; Armageddon: The Reality Behind the Distortions, Myths, Lies, and Illusions of World War II, 1995), argues that a few ``core'' states (e.g., the US, Britain, and Germany) have asserted their economic and military power to dominate the rest of the world's ``periphery'' and ``semi-periphery'' states. He views the 20th century as a continual, and largely predetermined, struggle between the few powerful ``haves'' and the majority of powerless ``have-nots.'' After discussing the demise of colonialism, Ponting shifts to the contemporary reality of unregulated global corporations exploiting cheap labor and material resources around the globe. Ponting also cites problems of overpopulation, especially in Africa, and the related crisis of the world environment. While Ponting's analysis is difficult to deny, it's hardly groundbreaking. In discussing the global environment, for instance, he invokes the usual litany of cautionary tales: Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island, Bhopal, Love Canal, and the Brazilian rainforest. What Ponting notably neglects to discuss is how the solutions to global environmental problems will inevitably conflict with basic concepts of individualism and nationalism. In discussing the growing levels of economic inequality among and within nations, Ponting exhausts the reader with a barrage of statistics. (Do we really need to know the rate of automobile ownership in Qatar?) At times, Ponting's conceptual approach results in bloodless, academic prose. Personalities are almost completely absent. That said, Ponting is outstanding when discussing the most important trend of the postCold War world: the destabilizing resurgence of nationalism. Now, more than ever, we exist in a world of regional alliances, confusing ethnic conflicts, and nationalist fervor. The Balkans, always a stew of ethnic and nationalist rivalries, has reemerged as ``the tinderbox of Europe.'' Other than his highly relevant discussion of the ``new'' nationalism, Ponting's conceptual analysis offers little that's edifying. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description U.S.A.: Henry Holt and Co., 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. 1st Edition... 10190 Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng. Bookseller Inventory # 3I-130-I
Book Description Henry Holt and Co. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 080506088X. Bookseller Inventory # JB-P16Z-8Y6B
Book Description Henry Holt and Co., 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX080506088X
Book Description Henry Holt and Co., 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 080506088X
Book Description Henry Holt and Co., 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11080506088X
Book Description Henry Holt and Co. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 080506088X New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.0966303
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97808050608811.0