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Lead book review

The world has become a toxic prison – and a volcanic winter lurks on the horizon

Our own actions have created the toxic prison in which we now live, says Peter Frankopan, and the future looks terrifying. Adam Nicolson can only agree

25 February 2023

9:00 AM

25 February 2023

9:00 AM

The Earth Transformed: An Untold History Peter Frankopan

Bloomsbury, pp.695, 30

Civilisation pollutes. Every improvement will bring poison and entropy in its wake. Apparently infinite resources are always finite. Immediate gain is inevitable loss. Lip service to ideals of balance and moderation is as old as humanity and has never been enough.

Peter Frankopan’s story of our relationship to the world across all planetary space and human time is necessarily vast – 660 pages of text, with footnotes relegated to 212 pages online – in which the grand cycle is enacted again and again.

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