The Nutmeg's Curse

The Nutmeg's Curse Image

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, and fossil fuels. Our crisis, he 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 histories 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 Western society and speaks to the profoundly remarkable ways in which human history is shaped by non-human forces.

 

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Readers' opinions about The Nutmeg's Curse by Amitav Ghosh

I loved the powerful messages hidden within the story. The book tackled important social issues and made me ponder the world we live in. It's a must-read for everyone.

The plot was incredibly well-crafted, with twists and turns that kept me hooked until the very last page. It was impossible to predict what would happen next.

This book has reignited my passion for reading. It reminded me of the sheer joy that can be found in losing oneself in the pages of a good story. I can't wait to explore more books now.

More by Amitav Ghosh

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