Subsequent to Harper’s review essay centered on Brooke’s Climate Change and the Course of Global History: A Rough Journey, Brooke concedes that he could have focused more attention on the problem of the Malthusian trap. He stresses, nevertheless, that his reservations regarding the concept of Malthusian crises in pre-industrial societies are well placed, given the concept’s prominence in the large-scale environmental histories written during the past several decades. Turning to the impact of climate change in late classical antiquity, Brooke discusses established and new evidence for increasing, sometimes catastrophic, precipitation from the Mediterranean area into central Asia after a.d. 500 and after 1250, as a result of shifts toward the negative mode of the North Atlantic Oscillation. He also surveys the evidence for emerging arguments that this cooling-driven precipitation may have triggered outbreaks of bubonic plague in Central Asia.

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