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Children's Nonfiction Environmental Science & Ecosystems

The Curse of Akkad

Climate Upheavals That Rocked Human History

by (author) Peter Christie

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2008
Environmental Science & Ecosystems
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2008
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2008
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 11 to 15
  • Grade: 6 to 12


When Sargon of Akkad created the world’s first empire 4,000 years ago, he thought none could conquer his powerful kingdom. He was wrong. A disastrous drought in Mesopotamia helped topple the Akkadian civilization.

Similar climate-related events rocked other civilizations. Ancient Rome experienced a catastrophic 18 months of darkness, possibly from a volcanic eruption half-a-world away. Mayan society in Mexico began to crumble when fresh water became scarce. And both ancient Egypt and ancient China were transformed by failed crops and starving citizens.

While many wonder how today’s warming climate will affect our future, The Curse of Akkad explores capricious climate shifts of the past. From an ice age that gave humans an evolutionary leg up to an El Niño that frustrated the battle plans of Hitler, author Peter Christie shows that the prevailing weather of a place is not simply a backdrop to important events, but often a critical player.

The Curse of Akkad is an acclaimed writer’s exciting and enlightening look at climate’s frequent place at the helm of human history. 

About the author

Peter Christie is a long-time naturalist and native of Prince Edward County. Before turning his attention to writing, he worked as a researcher for various universities and private foundations, conducting natural history surveys of wildlife in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. This work included his participation in a 1979 survey of reptiles and amphibians on which much of this book is based. Most recently, Peter returned to Canada from Tokyo, where he worked as a newspaper editor. His illustrations have appeared in a number of magazines and newspapers in Canada and overseas. Peter considers his ecologist father, the late Jack Christie, to have been his most important guide to the natural world.

Peter Christie's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“… clearly researched and informative …” —Resource Links, 06/08

“A great read, with lots of interesting sidebars; this one is sure to captivate readers.”—Canadian Teacher, 05/09

“… connecting science to history opens the topic of climate change to a wider range of students.”—School Library Journal, 02/09

“… exceptionally timely.”—CM Magazine, 05/08

“… an attention-grabbing piece of nonfiction that will hit home hard the urgency in reducing our personal contributions to global warming.”—, 05/25/11

“… this is a model of how to make science appealing.”—Canadian Geographic, 10/08

“This highly interesting work will be sucked dry of its facts by information seekers ... [Christie] sculpts sentences with crystal clear writing.”—Canadian Children’s Book News, 10/08

“Tailor-made for reluctant readers … the subject is compellingly topical.”—Booklist, 08/08

Librarian Reviews

The Curse of Akkad: Climate Upheavals that Rocked Human History

These riveting stories show that climate has often been a leading actor in the drama of human history, a role that will be even more profound in the years to come. Text is illustrated with black-andwhite photos and contains a further reading list, bibliography and index.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2009.

Other titles by Peter Christie