When we look back in history, we get a glimpse of our future: the cycles of nature, humanity, the rise and fall of empires and civilisations and so much more. This week, Karma Group Literary Luminary, Philip Blackwell, shares five historical reads that may provide insight into what lies ahead.
1. A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature and the Future of the Planet by Raj Patel and Jason Moore
There are seven things that have made our world – nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives. In making these things cheap, modern commerce has transformed, governed, and devastated Earth. At a time when all seven cheap things are in crisis, innovative and systemic thinking is need. This book proposes a radical new way of reclaiming the planet.
2. The Treasures of World History: The Story of Civilisation Told Through the 50 Most Important Documents by Peter Snow and Ann MacMillanca
A spirited examination of world history told through 50 key documents. Chapters are dedicated to each of the objects across the political, military, artistic, and scientific spheres, taking readers on a journey from the scripts of the earliest civilisation
3. The History of the World in 100 Animals by Simon Barnes
We are not alone on this planet. Humans love the idea of their uniqueness. But the fact is that humans are as much a part of the animal kingdom as cats and dogs. In this book, Simon Barnes selects the 100 animals that have had the greatest impact on humanity and on whom humanity has had the greatest effect. This book, alongside its beautiful illustrations, helps us to understand our place in the world better.
4. Rise and Fall: A History of the World in Ten Empires by Paul Strathern
Across this book Strathern draws connections from four millennia and sheds new light on major civilisations. Starting with the Akkadian Empire and moving to the Roman Empire, this book covers global history up until the most recent of empires, including the British, Russo-Soviet and American.
5. About Time: A History of Civilization in Twelve Clocks by David Rooney
From the city sundials of ancient Rome to the era of the smartwatch, clocks have been used throughout history to wield power, make money, govern citizens, and keep control. In this book, Rooney tells the story of timekeeping and how it continues to shape our modern world. Split into twelve chapters, demarcated like the hours on a clock, readers discover how clocks have helped us navigate the world.