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This magnificent history of the desert relates the human consequences of its relentless expansion. As a result of the past several thousand years, the Great Desert now stretches in almost unbroken continuity from Mauritania's Atlantic seaboard through the Middle East and Central Asia to the Great Wall of China. The author seeks to understand how the great civilizations in the original "green lands" of North Africa, Ancient Egypt, the Middle East, South Asia, and China responded and changed under the pressure of invaders fleeing growing environmental degradation in the surrounding deserts. In fascinating detail, Brian Griffith's cultural history of the deserts of Africa and Asia shows how the expanding wasteland fundamentally reshaped people's images of nature, women, politics, and religion.