Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World

Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World

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Author/Contributor(s): Davis, Mike
Publisher: Verso
Date: 01/17/2017
Binding: Paperback
Condition: NEW
This global environmental and political history “will redefine the way we think about the European colonial project” (Observer).

“ . . . sets the triumph of the late 19th-century Western imperialism in the context of catastrophic El Niño weather patterns at that time . . . groundbreaking, mind-stretching.” —The Independent

Examining a series of El Niño-induced droughts and the famines that they spawned around the globe in the last third of the 19th century, Mike Davis discloses the intimate, baleful relationship between imperial arrogance and natural incident that combined to produce some of the worst tragedies in human history.

Late Victorian Holocausts focuses on three zones of drought and subsequent famine: India, Northern China; and Northeastern Brazil. All were affected by the same global climatic factors that caused massive crop failures, and all experienced brutal famines that decimated local populations. But the effects of drought were magnified in each case because of singularly destructive policies promulgated by different ruling elites.

Davis argues that the seeds of underdevelopment in what later became known as the Third World were sown in this era of High Imperialism, as the price for capitalist modernization was paid in the currency of millions of peasants’ lives.