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

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

by William Rosen

Penguin Publishing Group | May 15, 2014 | Hardcover

The Third Horseman: Climate Change And The Great Famine Of The 14th Century is rated 4 out of 5 by 1.
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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 9.28 × 6.33 × 1.08 in

Published: May 15, 2014

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0670025895

ISBN - 13: 9780670025893

Found in: History

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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

– More About This Product –

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

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

by William Rosen

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 9.28 × 6.33 × 1.08 in

Published: May 15, 2014

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0670025895

ISBN - 13: 9780670025893

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 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.

About the Author

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.

Editorial Reviews

“The 'Winter is coming' refrain from HBO’s 'Game of Thrones' fits this story of medieval Europe’s great famine to a T.”--New York Post"A kink in Europe’s climate during the fourteenth century indirectly triggered a seven-year cataclysm that left six million dead, William Rosen reveals in this rich interweaving of agronomy, meteorology, economics and history.  The Great Famine ended the explosion in agricultural productivity of the 400-year Medieval Warm Period, which affected mainly North Atlantic civilizations.  Rosen deftly delineates the backstory and the perfect storm of heavy rains, hard winters, livestock epidemics, and war leading to the catastrophe."--Nature"Rosen... delights in the minutiae of history, down to the most fascinating footnotes. Here, the author delivers engrossing disquisitions on climate patterns and dynastic entanglements between England and Scotland (among others), and he posits that the decisive advent of cooler, wetter weather in the early 14th century signaled the beginning of the end of the medieval good times... A work that glows from the author's relish for his subject."--Kirkus “William Rosen is a good enough writer to hold interest and maintain the fraught relations between nature and politics as a running theme. He ends The Third Horseman with a stark observation: in some ways, global ecology is more precarious nowadays than it was in the 1300s.”--Milwaukee Express “Rosen is a terrific storyteller and engaging stylist; his vigorous recaps of
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