Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World

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Verso Books, Jun 17, 2002 - History - 470 pages
2 Reviews

“Eloquent and passionate, this is a veritable Black Book of liberal capitalism.”—Tariq Ali

Examining a series of El Niño-induced droughts and the famines that they spawned around the globe in the last third of the 19th century, Mike Davis discloses the intimate, baleful relationship between imperial arrogance and natural incident that combined to produce some of the worst tragedies in human history.

Late Victorian Holocausts focuses on three zones of drought and subsequent famine: India, Northern China; and Northeastern Brazil. All were affected by the same global climatic factors that caused massive crop failures, and all experienced brutal famines that decimated local populations. But the effects of drought were magnified in each case because of singularly destructive policies promulgated by different ruling elites.

Davis argues that the seeds of underdevelopment in what later became known as the Third World were sown in this era of High Imperialism, as the price for capitalist modernization was paid in the currency of millions of peasants' lives.

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Review: Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World

User Review  - Jacob Russell - Goodreads

Here is the historical background of the "global economy" and the distribution of wealth and power. A snapshot of who is going to suffer as global warming and rising seas bring us ever greater not-so-natural disasters. A book I wish I could persuade everyone to read. Read full review


A Note on Definitions
The Great Drought 18761878
El Niño and the New Imperialism 18881902
Decyphering ENSO
The Political Ecology of Famine

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About the author (2002)

Mike Davis is the author of several books including Planet of Slums, City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear, Late Victorian Holocausts, and Magical Urbanism. He was recently awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lives in Papa'aloa, Hawaii.

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