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Tropic of Chaos

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  341 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
From Africa to Asia and Latin America, the era of climate wars has begun. Extreme weather is breeding banditry, humanitarian crisis, and state failure. In "Tropic of Chaos," investigative journalist Christian Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering catastrophe--the belt of economically and politically battered postcolonial nations and war zones girding the ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Nation Books (first published 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mohamed El-Mahallawy
نوع جديد من الكتب لم أقرأ في ذلك المجال قبلاً وهو تأثير التغير في طبيعة الأرض من حرارة وجفاف على الحروب والمشكلات وإن كان الموضوع مفهوم ضمناً ولكن الرجل الكاتب استطاع أن يُضفره بشكل متوازن ممتاز على طول الكرة الأرضية ودولها كبيرها وصغيرها .. ولكنه لم يقترب بالطبع من أوروبا بشكل عام ولا من الولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص وكأنهما خارجتان عن المشاكل البيئية ... وربما هما بالفعل خارجتان بسبب تقدمهما ...
ناقش الرجل مشاكل دولية تاريخية وآنية وربطها بالتغيرات البيئية بشكل منطقي للغاية ...
الكتاب عبارة عن كم ثق
...more
Phan
May 31, 2016 Phan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few months back i said something to my friends without solid evidence: "People are dying everyday because of climate change". I did give them explanations, mainly in form of theories and rationalization. Now, after this book, i can get some real and pressing issues related to climate change and social disintegration.

There is no grand idea presented here: People fight over resources such as land and water, Climate change makes those resources less available, then there are conflicts, wars, i.e
...more
Stephen
Dec 20, 2014 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"In much of the world, it seems that the only solidarity forthcoming in response to climate change is an exclusionary tribalism, and the only state policy available is police repression. This is not 'natural' and inevitable but rather the result of a history--particularly the history of the Global North's use and abuse of the Global South--that has destroyed the institutions and social practices that would allow a different, more productive response."

"There must be another path. The struggling s
...more
Tinea
Oct 30, 2011 Tinea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tinea by: my awesome author boss
We see forms of violent adaptations [to climate change] emerging. In the Global South these take the forms of: ethnic irredentism, religious fanaticism, rebellion, banditry, narcotics trafficking, and small-scale resource wars [like] over water and cattle. ... In the North, the multi-layered crisis appears as the politics of the armed lifeboat: the preparations for open-ended counterinsurgency, militarized borders, aggressive anti-immigrant policing, and a mainstream proliferation of rightwing x ...more
Joan
Feb 20, 2013 Joan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: environmental activists
This book was a real candidate for the "cannot finish" category but I gritted my teeth and got through it. Let me say upfront that this is an important book and presents its case thoroughly. It is an academic book in many ways, with a vocabulary that often lost me and I have a pretty extensive vocabulary! Parenti's writing style does feel academic as well: this book is not going to end up on the NYT bestseller list by any means. His topic is really how society is dealing with and is going to dea ...more
Peter
Christian Parenti is a well respected journalist at nation Magazine (And other places) and this is a deeply reported account of violence, poverty and climate change in the middle lattitiudes of the planet, an area known as the global south. Parenti's thesis is straightforward: cold war militarism and neo-liberal economic reforms have made a number of stressed nations truly horrendous places to live, add in the reality of climate change and you have a recipe for chaos and disaster. There are some ...more
Nils
A decent journalistic account of how climate change is driving conflict, a classic example of an author thinking that the plural of anecdote is evidence. What's more interesting is the way Parenti argues that the sorts of conflicts that will be created (or at any rate exacerbated) by climate change will be low intensity & urban and that therefore the COIN technologies being developed to deal with the post-9/11 GWOT will actually find a second life as a way to contain and manage the malign po ...more
Melissa
Dec 10, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, things are really bad, and getting worse. It's definitely immoral to bring children in the world, so, please, stop doing that now. I mean it! Stop!

So, like, it used to be possible to grow all this food all over the world, but now, the rainy seasons that places used to have are gone -- replaced by long periods of drought that don't allow many crops to make it, followed by huge storms that destroy anything that irrigation allowed to grow. And, guess what, it's getting worse. And the political
...more
Shawn
Sep 05, 2011 Shawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book does a wonderful job of what it does, which may not be what you're going to expect it to do if you judge from the title. It's a great summary of how much of the tropical world got to its current state as a result of colonialism, surging population, the games played by both sides in the Cold War in these countries and the aftermath of those games (the facts that many of them are awash in weapons provided by both sides and that they haven't had stable governments since). Parenti also mak ...more
Utkarsh
Aug 01, 2015 Utkarsh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"THE" book- Period! A must read for anyone who has ever held an iota of concern for the environment. More so for him/her who hasn't. Beautifully portrays the interdependence of societal stability with climate, and the acceleration of the former's collapse catalyzed by climatic anomalies. Much more than just a book on planting trees or reducing carbon footprints, 'The Tropic of Chaos' champions the cause of the many few who have relentlessly worked to place climate at the forefront of all interna ...more
Gordon Hilgers
Dec 08, 2014 Gordon Hilgers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This relatively brief book concentrates on Africa, South Asia and Latin America--each area touched by the tropic--to give us a sort of intellectual tour guide through areas experiencing the vector of climate change and social violence. Parenti explains how this "catastrophic convergence" occurs and, in the end, illustrates ways humankind is and can counter the effects of global warming and rising desertification.
Mustafa Shahbaz
الكتاب. يتحدث حول تأثير الاحتباس الحراري على تفاقم العنف ورغم ان المؤلف يوحي دائما بان التغير المناخي هو السبب في العنف الا ان كل الأمثلة التي يوردها تتداخل فيها العوامل وفي اغلب الأحيان تكون المشكلات ذات جذور عرقية ودينية وسياسية مدفوعة بيولوجيا بإرثنا الجيني الذي يشجع التكاثر والنمو السكاني في العالم مما يخلق تنافس شديد على الموارد
Arjun
Jul 24, 2014 Arjun rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh.

A good premise (and one I believe - that looming/current environmental changes and stresses will lead to conflict) is hamstrung by too much fitting round pegs into square holes. When a book uses the word "neoliberal" in almost every sentence, well, it becomes predictable. I wanted to learn something here and I can't say I did.
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
In Tropic of Chaos, American investigative journalist Christian Parenti looks into the "catastrophic convergence of poverty, violence and climate change" (p.5), studying the near history of regions between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, "a belt of economically and politically battered post-colonial states girding the planet's mid-latitudes. In this band, around the tropics, climate change is beginning to hit hard. The Societies in this belt are also heavily dependent on agricu ...more
Ashwin Ramaswamy
The book begins with a tight thesis of the converging forces that result in the "threat multiplier" that Climate Change is. But soon it becomes a military history of what the writer calls "the South". And during these extended descriptions, the underlying climate change driven reasons are given their share of real estate in prose.
This is a book primarily a detailed description of the current violence in the world, and not so much about Climate Change.
Rod Raglin
Climate change and conflict - we have met the enemy ... Christian Parenti paints a bleak picture of the future and, what’s worse, is he backs it up with exhaustive and irrefutable research.In his book, Tropic of Chaos - Climate Change and the new Geography of Violence, the author cites war, after famine, after natural disaster to point out that even today climate change is a contributing factor, if not the major one, in most human catastrophes around the globe.And it will only get worse.Parenti ...more
Tim
Could the rise of Donald Trump be blamed on Climate Change? It sounds like a silly question, but against the backdrop of Christian Parenti's book "Tropic of Chaos," the question isn't entirely absurd.

"Climate change," declared a military think-tank report in 2007, "acts as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world. Many governments in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are already on edge in terms of their ability to provide basic needs: food, water, sh
...more
Matthew
This was a good overview of troubles in various places both historically and at present that can be attributed, in part, to climate change. The author's "catastrophic convergence" of economics, politics and climate is certainly valid and helps explain many of the events in recent history that have been otherwise attributed (too often with over-simplified, hand-waving arguments) to ethnic tensions and poor governance. This is somewhat like a book that I have been looking to read for a long time, ...more
Ron Joniak
Christian Parenti looks at the current effect that climate change is having on the socioeconomic and political scales across the world. He takes us on a climate-troubled tour of the habitable world starting in Africa, looking at the various border conflicts (and water disputs) of India/Pakistan, South America and finally the Mexico/US border.

Parenti often looks upon right-wing ideologies as dangerous and often praises the need for leftist elements of government to control capitalism. He seeks a
...more
Mark Valentine
Sep 16, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will forever remember reading this book as the starting point for when I became interested in how ACD (Anthropogenic Climate Disruption) impacted failed states, impoverished areas, tribal wars, and other catastrophic convergence zones enough to track them for myself. I would like to be able to use news and NGO feeds to collect updates from around the world and track this "new geography of violence" that Parenti identifies.

The reality now shows how the western and northern powers have used ine
...more
Sheehan
Jul 16, 2012 Sheehan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parenti explores what he refers to as a catastrophic convergence of various non-environmental factors (e.g. neo-liberal capitalism, immigration, food scarcity, and politics) which are so highly leveraged that the axiomatic overheating of the planet will manifest in some very exacerbated hardships and outcomes if neglected.

While Parenti tries to place the potentially positive possibility of avoiding this convergence of hardships, he does so pretty half-heartedly, as though he has already resigned
...more
Samuel
Nov 18, 2014 Samuel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here we have an interesting sampling of geographic case studies of the "catastrophic convergence of poverty, violence, and climate change" as written by a journalist--Christian Parenti (5). He uses the scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in order to pin his thesis. Though he recognizes that the IPCC has been attacked for being alarmist and wrong, he dismisses these claims because the IPCC works on consensus and thus its findings are quite conservative. Wh ...more
Dan
May 05, 2014 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If anyone thinks that climate change will be a subtle warming of the status quo, they need to read this book. Mr. Parenti lays out the imminent and terrifying future of chaos and conflict. In fact, he shows with ample evidence and analysis of conflict zones, that the future of climate chaos is already upon us. From Africa to Latin America, to India and beyond, as agriculture fails due to drought, flooding, and inconsistent precipitation fully 1 billion climate refugees will be pulling the remain ...more
Joseph Mckenna
The succinct review is that Parenti's "Topic of chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violoence is less about climate change and more about failed economic neoliberalism. The book seems a bit opportunistic at times, attempts to delve into the impacts of climate change quickly devolve into Parenti's railing against the IMF, neo-Hayek, and economic liberalism. That is not to say that the book is devoid of merit. There are times when things work in the book. The chapter on Pakistan and the ...more
Josh
Nov 15, 2013 Josh rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found Tropic of Chaos interesting but my rating is a little harsh because the book foundered and was, at times, a clunky and vague read. Parenti is aiming to connect the dots between climate change, poverty and violence around the world, and he's most successful when he brings in his own on-the-ground reporting and research from Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan. But many sections are dense and lacking color and even repetitive, and I finished the book feeling like climate change was only minimally addr ...more
Robert Christie
May 31, 2015 Robert Christie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christian Parenti, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (New York: Nation Books, 2011) surveys the diverse conflict zones emerging in the post-colonial states of the planet’s mid-latitudes. These regions he calls the “Tropic of Chaos” experience crises like poverty, war, neoliberal restructuring of economies, political instabilities, and continued corporate resource extraction and exploitation.
A “catastrophic convergence” of these crises with the early disruptions o
...more
Tariq Mahmood
Weather change is a difficult topic to sell. Change in weather is something we all relate to and can expect, which makes the task of raising the profile of global warming a pretty daunting experience indeed especially when you consider that no government or corporation is willing to sponsor it. I had my own doubts when reading about various wars and armed resistances but the link between changing weather and survival wars is so obvious that it is easily ignored. But the author is absolutely corr ...more
Jim Rimmer
A book for it's time. Across continents Parenti details the extent to which climate change magnifies and turbo charges existing and entrenched challenges within communities. For westerners this is sobering and challenging reading as, to date, our societies have largely been insulated from the impact of the issues discussed. But the clock is ticking!

The final chapter is riveting in the simplicity of it's proposition. This author's prescription for moving forward ought be required reading for all
...more
Rick
Mar 08, 2013 Rick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I wanted to love this book. I have been researching global warming for a while and love a good book filled with stats about it. The first chapter delivers. The rest of the book? Not so much. It's a region-by-region expose of the fighting and strife going on throughout the world, and ties them all into climate change factors or fights over natural resources. Some of these seem perfectly true, and others seem a stretch.

The book's central thesis - that climate change is going to cause a shit ton o
...more
Greg
Feb 19, 2013 Greg rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the premise of this book and there were moments that really made me think and that taught me something. Overall, I felt it was a bit repetitive. I think this is really an essay or a series of three news articles. The book format was too long and just belabored the point. I did appreciate that it was a different take on the climate issue than I've read before but I also felt it strayed too much from the climate change thesis at times. Definitely too heady for a first-year summer reading ...more
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Christian Parenti is a contributing editor at The Nation, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, and a visiting scholar at the City University of New York. He has a Ph.D. in sociology from the London School of Economics. The author of Lockdown America, The Soft Cage, and The Freedom. Parenti has written for Fortune, The New York Times, Los AngelesTimes, Washington Post, Playbo ...more
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“In a world that sees two meter sea level rise, with continued flooding ahead, it will take extraordinary effort for the United States, or indeed any country, to look beyond its own salvation. All of the ways in which human beings have dealt with natural disasters in the past . . . could come together in one conflagration: rage at government’s inability to deal with the abrupt and unpredictable crises; religious fervor, perhaps even a dramatic rise in millennial end-of-days cults; hostility and violence toward migrants and minority groups, at a time of demographic change and increased global migration; and intra- and interstate conflict over resources, particularly food and fresh water.” 1 likes
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