Eruditem, wide-ranging, a work of dazzling scholarship written with extraordinary flair, this book redefines the subject that has fascinated historians from Thucydides to Gibbon to Spengler to Fernand Braudel: the nature of civiliation. To the author, Oxford historian Felipe Fernandez-Amersto, a society's relationship to climate, geography, and ecology are paramount in determining its degree of success. 'Unlike previous attempts to write the comparative history of civilizations,' he writes, 'it is arranged environment by environment, rather than period by period or society by society.' Thus, for example, tundra civilizations of Ice Age Europe are linked with those of the Inuit of the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi Mound Builders with the deforesters of eleventh-century Europe. This book brilliantly connects the world of ecologists, geologist, and geographer with the panorama of cultural history.