How will the twentieth century be remembered? For world wars and politics? The spread of literacy and sexual equality?
This ground-breaking work shows us that its most enduring legacy will in fact be the physical changes we have wrought on the planet. Humanity has undertaken a gigantic experiment on the earth, refashioning it with an intensity unprecedented in history - now there really is something new under the sun.
In this landmark and award-winning book John McNeill uses a refreshing mixture of history, anecdote and science, avoiding blame or sermon, to explain how and why humans have altered their world. He takes us from London smog to the dust bowls of Oklahoma, introducing fascinating characters such as conservationist Rachel Carson, pirate whaler Aristotle Onassis and the little-known scientist who invented CFCs and put lead in petrol.
Above all, this compelling account shows that the damage can be reversed. It is up to us to decide how long our gamble can continue.