Books

The Broken Promise of Agricultural Progress: An Environmental History

Routledge, 2014

Shortlisted in the 2015 New South Wales Premier’s History Awards

‘Cameron Muir has produced a brilliant, far-reaching book that combines environmental and agricultural approaches to urgent questions about food politics and land management. This is a terrific work of historically textured, geographically immersed story-telling that also has a strong conceptual payoff in debunking resilient myths about what it would take to feed the world. Muir’s conclusions will reverberate across disciplines and national borders.’–Rob Nixon, Princeton University, USA

‘In his gripping account of the failures of European agriculture on the western plains of New South Wales, Cameron Muir challenges our assumptions about the social and environmental outcomes of agricultural progress. How can global food security be maintained, given that modern farming technologies can ‘break’ places? Muir’s perceptive and fresh analysis alerts us to why the lessons of the past are so crucial for the future management of our environments.’ –Kate Darian-Smith, University of Melbourne, Australia

‘This book is remarkable in the way it builds – from an incredibly wide range of sources – an ecological history of what the unbridled quest for agricultural rewards may do to poorly understood lands, especially drylands. In all, this is an enthralling and very important book that deserves to be read by a wide audience of agriculturalists, sociologists, farmers, conservationists and ecologists among others.’ –P.S. Lake, Monash University, Australia


Climate Change and the Health of Nations: Famines, Fevers, and the Fate of Populations

Tony McMichael with Alistair Woodward and Cameron Muir

Oxford University Press, 2017

Maclean’s Magazine Top Ten Books of 2017. Featured in New Yorker, Nature, National Geographic, New Scientist, Mashable and many more

“He deftly traces the great environmental “undercurrents that shaped the fates of civilisations, their cultures, ideologies, and power structures”. He calls for an extraordinary civilisational response. McMichael is optimistic about the world’s “mega-problem”. He tells the story for the first time of “the historical interplay between climate change, human health, disease, and survival”. It is a magnificent treatise. It demands our attention. And action.” – Richard Horton, The Lancet

“[Climate Change and the Health of Nations] lucidly, and at times lyrically, chronicles 200,000 years of human history through a climate lens.” – Nature

“The book’s goal is not to make predictions but to motivate change, which McMichael does by bringing into focus humanity’s sensitivity to fluctuations in the natural climate system throughout history.” – Science Magazine

“The writing is clear, unadorned, and engaging. The scholarly reach is breathtaking … This splendid book is a call to action … And if we are successful, as we must be, Tony McMichael’s contributions will live on as a vital part of that legacy.” – Howard Frumkin, EcoHealth

“Urgent in tone .. Offering hindsight as well as foresight, McMichael makes a strong argument for sustainability.” – Publishers Weekly

Last modified: October 31, 2018

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