Roundtable Review of Enclosing Water by Stefania Barca

Hamblin, Jacob D., ed. | from Multimedia Library Collection:
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Hamblin, Jacob D., ed. Roundtable Review of Enclosing Water: Nature and Political Economy in a Mediterranean Valley, 1796-­1916 by Stefania Barca. H-Environment Roundtable Reviews 2, no. 6 (2012) www.h‐‐roundtable‐2‐6.pdf.

In Enclosing Water, Stefania Barca presents an environmental history of the Industrial Revolution, through the lens of the Liri River Valley, a region that was by some called the “Manchester of the Two Sicilies.” In factories along the river, machines benefited from a power that neither humans nor animals could produce. The enclosures of land and water as private property during that era seemed to mark a contrast with centuries of feudal carelessness and held great promise not only in financial, but also natural, wealth. Barca takes on conventional views about environmental degradation and suggests that new instruments of controlling water in the nineteenth century reconfigured nature and exposed people to increased risk.

(Text adapted from Jacob D. Hamblin’s editorial introduction.)

H-Environment’s Roundtable Book Reviews provide multiple perspectives on books and allow the authors the opportunity to respond. This unique dialogue can be a valuable insight into recent scholarship.

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