The Nutmeg's Curse

Parables for a Planet in Crisis

Hardcover, 336 pages

Published by University of Chicago Press.

5 stars (2 reviews)

In this ambitious successor to The Great Derangement, acclaimed writer Amitav Ghosh finds the origins of our contemporary climate crisis in Western colonialism’s violent exploitation of human life and the natural environment.

A powerful work of history, essay, testimony, and polemic, Amitav Ghosh’s new book traces our contemporary planetary crisis back 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 today are rooted in a centuries-old geopolitical order constructed by Western colonialism. At the center of Ghosh’s narrative is the now-ubiquitous spice nutmeg. The history of the nutmeg is one of conquest and exploitation—of both human life and the natural environment. In Ghosh’s hands, the story of the nutmeg becomes a parable for our environmental crisis, revealing the ways human history has always been entangled with earthly materials such as spices, tea, sugarcane, opium, …

1 edition

pulls even fewer punches than The Great Derangement

5 stars

Indicting colonial capitalism's responsibility for our modern environmental and poverty dilemma. Quick and smoothly focuses our attention on small acts, then global repercussions, offbeat books, then deep mysticism, to come back to the long-fought war of ideas and omnicidal violence we accept for the modern era's consumption and wealth.