Green Land, Brown Land, Black Land: An Environmental History of Africa, 1800-1990
|Rating||:||4.28 (744 Votes)|
|Number of Pages||:||224 Pages|
"Five Stars" according to The Physics Knitter. Good read and good case studies. "EXCELLENT Work" according to A Customer. I read this book for an undergraduate course in comparative environmental history. McCann dispells common myths about Africa (static, has been in environmental decline throughout its history). Instead, he argues that Africa's environmental history can't be judged in a linear perspectiv. "Historical narrative of African ecosystem" according to Angela Horner. McCann, a historian by education, provides us with a synthesis of the changing African landscape. He argues that the landscape in Africa has always been unstable, and the cause for the instability is anthropogenic activity. His argument specifically deals with the forests of Africa, an
McCann is Professor of History and director of the African Studies Center at Boston University. James C.
Key topics within the book are the effects of population growth, disease, agricultural change, the state of natural resources, and the changing role of the state in how Africans have managed and changed their own landscapes.. James C. This argument contrasts strongly with the idealized notions of an African Eden commonly held in the West and in Africa itself. It also confronts more recent alarm about degradation of Africa's natural and human resources by examining the historical evidence of environmental change. In a book readily accessible to undergraduates and nonspecialists, Professor McCann argues that far from being pristine and primordial spaces, Africa's landscapes were created by human activity. McCann provides a synthesis of evidence and a narrative of Africa's evironmental history over the past two centuries
In a subtle way, his work shows that the degradation narratives so beloved of environmentalists when pleading for money are wrong without devaluing the reality of environmental change and its effects on the peoples of Africa. As a book, McCann's work leaves one wanting more: more detail, more case studies, more pages, more master narrative. Neither the degradation narrative of environmental activists nor the nurturing narrative promoted by Fairhead and Leach capture this ambiguous relationship; only the detailed examination of McCann's 'signs of the past' can provide a clue to Africa's environmental future as past. One wants ammunition to counter the arguments advanced by McNeill, Crosby, Diamond and even Curtin and Thornton about the ways that African environments limited the potential for social development in Africa. - Gregory H. Maddox in JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORY In recent years, Africa's environmental history has begun to eme