Institute at Brown for Environment and Society

IBES Professor Brain Lander Launches a New Book - The Kings Harvest

Professor Brian Lander’s new book The King's Harvest, is a multidisciplinary environmental history of early China’sLanderBookCover political systems, featuring newly available Chinese archaeological data.

Lander traces the formation of lowland North China’s agricultural systems and the transformation of its plains from diverse forestland and steppes to farmland. He argues that the growth of states in ancient China, and elsewhere, was based on their ability to exploit the labor and resources of those who harnessed photosynthetic energy from domesticated plants and animals. Focusing on the state of Qin, Lander amalgamates abundant new scientific, archaeological, and excavated documentary sources to argue that the human domination of the central Yellow River region, and the rest of the planet, was made possible by the development of complex political structures that managed and expanded agroecosystems