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How Tropical Forests Shaped World History - and Us

Patrick Roberts



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04 October 2021
'A bold, ambitious and truly wonderful history of the world that shows the vital importance of tropical forests to life on Earth' Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees
Jungle is a new and ambitious history of the world, telling the remarkable story of the world's tropical forests from the arrival of the first plants millions of years ago to the role of tropical forests in the evolution of the world's atmosphere, the dinosaurs, the first mammals and even our own species and ancestors. Highlighting provocative new evidence garnered from cutting-edge research, Dr Roberts shows, for example, that our view of humans as 'savannah specialists' is wildly wrong, and that the 'Anthropocene' began not with the Industrial Revolution, but potentially as early as 6,000 years ago in the tropics. We see that the relationship between humankind and 'jungles' is deep-rooted, that we are all connected to their destruction, and that we must all act to save them. Urgent, clear-sighted and original, Jungle challenges the way we think about the world - and ourselves.
Imprint:   Viking
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm,  Spine: 31mm
Weight:   537g
ISBN:   9780241472750
ISBN 10:   024147275X
Pages:   432
Publication Date:  
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Dr Patrick Roberts is W2 Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany. He completed his PhD at Oxford University and has worked in tropical forests across the Amazon Basin, the lowlands of Sri Lanka, the Wet Tropics of Australia, and the island settings of Wallacea and wider Pacific. Recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including a European Research Council Starter Grant (?1.5 Million), he has written or co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and his work has featured on the BBC, Channel 4 and in The Times, among others. He is the author of the academic book Tropical Forest Prehistory, History and Modernity (OUP, 2019) and this is his first for a trade audience.

Reviews for Jungle: How Tropical Forests Shaped World History - and Us

Jungle is a bold, ambitious and truly wonderful history of the world that shows the vital importance of tropical forests to life on Earth -- Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees A fascinating story and a crucial revision of the momentous importance of tropical forests to human history. Spanning from our very evolution as a species, to the early stages of globalisation and how we fill our kitchen cupboards today, we all owe far more to jungles than we realise -- Lewis Dartnell, author of Origins There are many books on the history of trilobites and dinosaurs and other animals, but so few on the history of plants. Here the dynamic young scientist Patrick Roberts tackles the history of the tropics, from the coal swamps of 300 million years ago, through the co-evolutionary dance of dinosaurs and mammals and flowers, to how our own human history has been shaped by vegetation. As environments are changing rapidly around us today, this is a timely, readable and highly relevant history that celebrates the wonder and importance of jungles -- Steve Brusatte, author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs Welcome to the 'Jungle' - a breath-taking book showing that tropical forests were key to our evolution, provide fossil fuels for our modern carbon-hungry society and ultimately must be protected and restored if we are to have a future. This insightful and captivating book will ensure you never take our jungles for granted ever again -- Mark Maslin, author of How to Save Our Planet An enthralling jungle-journey from the origins of life on this planet to the present day, Jungle provides a brilliant new perspective on our interaction with tropical forests, placing them at the centre of human experience - and it delivers a timely warning about our abuse of the environment -- David Abulafia, author of The Great Sea Jungle sweeps the reader into the primordial heart of the earth, as if the crucible of life welcomed you to its sanctuary. Its revelations and stories will stir, rearrange and populate your mind for years to come. As a book, it is a joy, pure intellectual chocolate -- Paul Hawken, author of Drawdown Finally, a book on rainforests that does justice to their majesty and importance. Patrick Roberts skilfully and lucidly shows why tropical forests matter. He builds the case that people and tropical forests are intimately linked, whether you live in the rainforest or seemingly a world away. Those intricate links are more important than ever today, with ending deforestation playing a key role in solving the twin climate and biodiversity crises we face this century -- Simon Lewis, co-author of The Human Planet Enormously ambitious, deeply researched, moves with great skill from ecology and evolution to history and politics -- Michael Marshall * New Scientist * Many European and American books and films imply that tropical forests are incapable of sustainably supporting large human societies. Jungle provides a superbly argued refutation of this long-held view . . . a thrilling reappraisal of our origins and our dependence on tropical forests -- Charlie Pye-Smith * Literary Review *

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