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The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis

Amitav Ghosh

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Climate change

From the bestselling author of the Ibis trilogy and The Great Derangement, The Nutmeg's Curse is an enthralling, panoramic history of the influence of colonialism on the world today, told through the surprising story of the nutmeg.

'Do not miss this book' NAOMI KLEIN, author of This Changes Everything

The history of the nutmeg is one of conquest and exploitation - of both human life and the natural environment - and the origin of our contemporary climate crisis.

Tracing the threats to our future to the discovery of the New World and the sea route to the Indian Ocean, The Nutmeg's Curse argues that the dynamics of climate change are rooted in a centuries-old geopolitical order constructed by Western colonialism. The story of the nutmeg becomes a parable revealing the ways human history has always been entangled with earthly materials - spices, tea, sugarcane, opium, and fossil fuels. Our crisis, Ghosh shows, is ultimately the result of a mechanistic view of the earth, where nature exists only as a resource for humans to use for our own ends, rather than a force of its own, full of agency and meaning.

Writing against the backdrop of the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, Ghosh frames these historical stories in a way that connects our shared colonial past with the deep inequality we see around us today. By interweaving discussions on everything from the global history of the oil trade to the migrant crisis and the animist spirituality of indigenous communities around the world, The Nutmeg's Curse offers a sharp critique of contemporary society and speaks to the profoundly remarkable ways in which human history is shaped by non-human forces.

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Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956. He grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford and published the first of eight novels, The Circle of Reason in 1986. He currently divides his time between Calcutta, Goa and Brooklyn. The first novel in his Ibis trilogy, Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize.

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