The King's Harvest


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About the Author

Brian Lander is assistant professor of history at Brown University and a fellow of the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society.


Winner of the James Henry Breasted Prize, sponsored by the AHA

“Over four thousand years of unsustainable growth, Chinese states replaced a diverse ecosystem with a monocropping grain state. All states destroy environments, but only the state can save us. So ancient China’s spectres still haunt our modern crisis. A brilliant and disturbing analysis!”—Peter C. Perdue, author of Environmental History in China and the West: Its Origins and Prospects (in Chinese)

“The King’s Harvest is an extraordinary achievement that makes a unique contribution to Chinese history, environmental history, and the history of agriculture.”—Ruth Mostern, author of The Yellow River: A Natural and Unnatural History

“The King’s Harvest is based on exceptionally sound scholarship, reflecting Brian Lander’s grasp of the most cutting-edge approaches to environmental history and early Chinese history.”—Micah S. Muscolino, author of The Ecology of War in China

“Brian Lander has written a richly detailed, engaging, and eminently readable masterpiece of environmental history, interweaving archaeological and textual evidence from Ancient China to demonstrate that ‘Geopolitics are always environmental politics.’”—Rowan Flad, coauthor of Ancient Central China

“Brian Lander’s book boldly builds upon K. C. Chang’s Archaeology of Ancient China and Mark Elvin’s Retreat of the Elephants, providing one plausible explanation for agricultural innovations spurring vast sociopolitical changes. I will assign it.”—Michael Nylan, author of Chang’an 26 BCE: An Augustan Age in China

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