The primary value of this small book is its breadth. Even where it skips from one idea to another with only light documentation, the reader is forced to reflect. This provides a salutary mental workout that brings a new awareness of historical ecology. Redman's presentation is engaging and rarely categorical; he frequently lets the reader choose among alternative interpretations. . . . Human Impact on Ancient Environments
should be required reading for undergraduates of any persuasion and will interest anyone who is concerned about the environmental problems that confront us today.
This is an archaeologist's book, but it will be of considerable use to historians and their students. For the most part, Redman shows considerable good sense, correctly identifies the major issues, and places his assertions within the context of current anthropological debate.
Approachable and concisely constructed . . . As an overview text, it provides an important piece in the emerging picture of how our species has repeatedly squandered natural resources and how we are continuing to do so.