Bill O'driscoll's Reviews > Civilizations: Culture, Ambition, and the Transformation of Nature

Civilizations by Felipe Fernández-Armesto
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's review
Sep 06, 10

really liked it
Read from June 27 to July 01, 2010

Masterful work by the brilliant British historian that groups various civilizations not by time period or continent by the type of environment in which they formed. Not quite "geography is destiny," but close. F-A regards "civilization" precisely as humanity's attempts to control the environment, and he's very much a "two cheers for civilization" sort: obviously in love with culture and in awe of achievements like transoceanic sailing passages, but pretty clear-eyed about the destruction humanity causes. Heavy stuff, but F-A is a witty, almost Wildean sort of writer, and this is highly enjoyable reading as well as magisterial history.
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