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Termination Shock: select bibliography


Arranged by topic


General note: anyone who is expert in any of these topics will find this list curiously random and patchy. Such is the nature of novelistic, as opposed to academic, research. If a book is listed below, it’s probably interesting and relevant to the themes covered in TERMINATION SHOCK. If it’s not listed, I probably just didn’t get to it.


Climate change and geoengineering


The Planet Remade by Oliver Morton

Published in 2013 but still probably the best single book on this topic for a well-informed general audience.


The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire by Kyle Harper

As the subtitle indicates, this is explicitly about how both climate variation and pandemics contributed to the decline and fall of Rome. Particularly relevant for the description of how volcanic activity triggered not only crop failures but bubonic plague in the 530s.


Children of Ash and Elm: a History of the Vikings by Neil Price

This is less specifically about climate but does include some interesting bits in the early going about how the same volcanic eruptions that caused trouble in Rome also helped bring the curtain down on a precursor culture to what we now call the Vikings.




Wild Pigs in the United States: their History, Comparative Morphology, and Current Status by John J. Mayer and I. Lehr Brisbin Jr.

The title says it all!


Native American tribes, their relations with one another and with settlers


Contrary Neighbors: Southern Plains and Removed Indians in Indian Territory by David LaVere

By “Removed Indians” he means the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes,” nowadays more diplomatically referred to as the “Five Tribes,” which ended up in the eastern part of what is now Oklahoma. The book is about their generally unfriendly relationship with tribes such as the Comanches, living a very different lifestyle to the west.


Everything you Know about Indians is Wrong by Paul Chaat Smith

Highly recommended book of essays by a contemporary Comanche.


Like a Hurricane: the Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee by Paul Chaat Smith and Robert Allen Warrior

More from the always readable Paul Chaat Smith, focusing on the more recent history of the American Indian Movement.


Civil War in the Indian Territory by Steve Cottrell

A treatment of the little-known story of how the American Civil War played out in what is now Oklahoma, pitting Confederate-friendly, slave-owning tribes against others allied with the North.



1491 and 1493 by Charles Mann

Esssential context-setting material, based on relatively recent research, for helping understand anything to do with the Americas and their indigenous peoples.


Our Comanche Dictionary, compiled by the Comanche Language and Cultural Preservation Committee ( Definitely not a book you would just pick up and read cover to cover, but good for browsing and getting a sense of the day-to-day preoccupations of ordinary people.


The following books all recount the same historical events with different points of view and emphases. The history of Texas is in large part the story of white settlers’ conflicts, with the indomitable Comanches, which played out in a series of battles and other dramatic events that have been told and retold many times. Reading all of these books is a good way to learn about different points of view and on how our understanding of these events has evolved over time as more research has come to light and old myths have fallen by the wayside.



Cult of Glory: the Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers by Doug J. Swanson

A pretty unsparing account of how Anglo settlers behaved toward both Comanches and Mexicans, with good material on the Rangers’ participation in the Mexican-American War. Interestingly, it carries the story all the way up to the present day


Comanche Empire by Pekka Hamalainen

I haven’t read this one but it seems highly regarded by contemporary Comanches


The Comanches: A History, 1706-1875 by Thomas W. Kavanagh.

I’m told this one is also well regarded by contemporary Comanches


Comanches by T. R. Fehrenbach

Hefty, thoroughly researched.


Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne

Highly readable, aimed at a broad audience, and focusing on the nearly unbelievable saga of the Parker clan


Sia: The Comanche Nation Ethno-Ornithological Initiative

This is not a book, but an organization. It is an important resource, not just for ornithology but for the preservation of many other aspects of Comanche history and culture. They deserve financial support. Please donate:  A good Nova piece about them is here:




Venice: A New History by Thomas F. Madden


The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon


The Punjab and the Sikhs


Hymns of the Sikh Gurus, translated and introduced by Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh


Shri Guru Granth Sahib, available in various translations. This is the scripture of the Sikh religion, consisting of writings collected from the works of its first gurus.


A History of the Sikhs by Khushwant Singh

A two-volume set that lays out the whole story of the people and the religion.


Battle Tactics and War Manoeuvres of the Sikhs by D. S. Saggu





The Defining Years of the Dutch East Indies, 1942-1949: Survivors’ Accounts of Japanese Invasion and Enslavement of Europeans and the Revolution that Created Free Indonesia, edited by Jan A. Krancher

As the subtitle suggests, this book has a definite point of view! It is a series of personal accounts by survivors, many of which are extremely harrowing.


The Social World of Batavia: Europeans and Eurasians in Colonial Indonesia by Jean Gelman Taylor

Fascinating account including the very early days of the Dutch colonial presence in what is now Indonesia, and how its extreme separation from the Netherlands led to the development of a unique and distinct hybrid culture.


Indonesia and the Dutch by Leslie H. Palmier

Written in 1962, shortly after Indonesian independence, focusing on events after 1900.




The following two books are personal accounts by American mining company executives, written decades ago. As such they embody a certain mindset and viewpoint that any modern reader will have to allow for. That said, they are fascinating accounts of the challenges of building large projects in New Guinea.


Grasberg by George A Mealey


The Conquest of Copper Mountain by Forbes Wilson




A History of Modern Singapore, 1819-2005 by C. M. Turnbull


Flood Defenses


The Thames Barrier by Stuart Gilbert & Ray HornerTermination