How a seven-year cycle of rain, cold, disease, and warfare created the worst famine in European history.
In May 1315 it started to rain. It didn't stop anywhere in north Europe until August. Next came the four coldest winters in a millennium. Two separate animal epidemics killed nearly 80 percent of northern Europe's livestock. Wars between Scotland and England, France and Flanders, and two rival claimants to the Holy Roman Empire destroyed all remaining farmland. After seven years, the combination of lost harvests, warfare, and pestilence would claim six million lives - one eighth of Europe's total population.
William Rosen draws on a wide array of disciplines, from military history to feudal law to agricultural economics and climatology, to trace the succession of traumas that caused the Great Famine. With dramatic appearances by Scotland's William Wallace, the luckless Edward II, and his treacherous Queen Isabella, history's best documented episode of catastrophic climate change comes alive, with powerful implications for future calamities.
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Not About Famine or Climate
Climate, Famine not
Don't think so. Considering the title I expected this book to be about the 14th century famine and how climate caused it. However, the book is actually about the convoluted machinations of kings and nobles during this period and has almost nothing about the famine or climate. I expect the current heated discussions about climate change contributed to the selection of the title.
The narration was good.
Kings and Nobles
If someone is interested in details of kings and nobles, primarily in England and Scotland, during this period the book may be worthwhile.
Misleading Title and Summary
Perhaps one tenth of the book was actually about famine and climate change. Judging by the title and the summary, it should have been far more. This is still a decent read/listen, but only if you're interested in the conflicts of Edward the Second.
Edward the Second
- John J.R.