The Third Horseman: Climate Change And The Great Famine Of The 14th Century

Hardcover | May 15, 2014

byWilliam Rosen

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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, and 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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From the Publisher

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 ...

William Rosen, a former editor and publisher at Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, and The Free Press, is the author of Justinian’s Flea and The Most Powerful Idea in the World. He lives in New Jersey.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.28 × 6.33 × 1.08 inPublished:May 15, 2014Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0670025895

ISBN - 13:9780670025893

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Turmoil in the Early Fourteenth Century Although this book’s title and subtitle suggest that the main theme is the Great Famine that was precipitated by climate change, there is much more history here than one might expect. The book’s main foci are as follows: period - the early fourteenth century; location - England, with significant attention paid to Scotland and France and some to Northern Europe; individuals - mainly the life and reign of England’s Edward II; and main events – war and politics. Much of the book covers the Scottish war of independence from England along with its colorful personalities: William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Edward I and II and various others. Also, space is devoted to the wars between England and France. But rather lightly peppered throughout the book are discussions on climate, particularly the end of the Medieval Warm Period and its terrible effects on the populations that experienced it. These effects, predominantly famine, are sparingly though adequately described; I do remember reading much more graphic depictions in other works. It is clear that the author is very comfortable discussing this historical period. His breadth of knowledge is as impressive as is his often witty and colorful prose. This book would probably appeal the most to history enthusiasts.
Date published: 2014-07-04