A dazzling new history of the past 200 years, recast as a story of population: how irrepressible demographic changes and mass migrations have made and unmade nations, continents, and empires
The advance and subsequent retreat of the British Empire; the emergence of America as a superpower; the ebb and flow of global challenges from Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and Soviet Russia. These are the headlines of history, but the rise and fall of empires cannot be properly grasped without understanding the role that population has played.
The Human Tide reveals one of history’s greatest causal factors, a guiding hand too long hidden from view. It shows how rapid population transition, arriving in different places at different times, has shaped the course of world history since it first began in the British Isles, then spread to other European populations and then the rest of the world. Demography – the study of population – is the key to unlocking an understanding of the world we live in and how we got here.
Demography is not just about numbers but about the leading role those numbers have played at turning points in history. From the extraordinary fecundity of Britain in the 19th century to the One Child Policy in China to the decline and fall of Western Europe as populations age today, the demographic history of the world is full of colorful surprises. It provides elucidating evidence that refreshes, refines, and deepens our understanding of world history and global politics.