Geoffrey Parker's Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century is the fullest statement of the seventeenth-century crisis to date; it is an epic history with an enormous cast. But the people and institutions that it covers must share the historical stage with another agent of change—the Little Ice Age, which functions as the glue that holds together the era's myriad of events, producing an agricultural, political, and military crisis of global proportions. What is missing in Parker's account is a credible explanation for his version of the “great divergence”—the fact that resolution of the crisis took a different and fateful form in one region of Eurasia but in none of the others. Parker's claims about the Little Ice Age are ultimately testable, but his claim that it laid the basis for the “great divergence” remains mysterious.

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