The intellectual, emotional, and institutional debts that I have accumulated while writing this book are enormous. For the probity of their questioning, I want to thank James Lee, John Siedensticker, and two anonymous readers. Through their questions and comments, Mark Elvin and Pierre-Etienne Will convinced me that I was on the right track. Richard Archer, Patrick Caffrey, Alfred Crosby, Christopher Hill, J. Donald Hughes, Joyce P. Kaufman, John R. McNeill, Rhoads Murphey, J. Richard Penn, and Kenneth Pomeranz did me the honor of reading and commenting upon the entire manuscript, for which I am exceedingly grateful; they helped in ways too numerous to mention.
Others critiqued parts of the manuscript in various stages of preparation, and I thank each of them: Robert Antony, William Atwell, Thomas Buoye, Cao Shuji, Chen Chunsheng, Helen Dunstan, Joseph Esherick, Robert Gardella, Philip Huang, James Lee, Lillian Li, Katherine Lynch, John D. Post, Mary Rankin, Thomas Rawski, G. William Skinner, Kathy Walker, Yeh-chien Wang, and R. Bin Wong. Participants at various conferences where I presented preliminary findings – the Fourth International Conference on Qing Social and Economic History at Shenzhen in 1987, the February 1993 Southern California China Colloquium, and the 1993 Conference on the History of the Environment in China – also provided helpful comments, and I thank them all.
Special thanks go to Gordon Jacoby and Rosanne D'Arrigo for sharing with me their reconstruction of northern hemisphere temperature trends and then reading a draft chapter that incorporated their findings. Qiu Yuanyou, head librarian at Beijing Teacher's College (now Capital Normal University), introduced me to the archives at the Number One Historical Archives in Beijing; fellow researchers at the Number One – Jack Wills, Tom Buoye, Lillian Li, Robert Antony, and David Kelly – shared ideas and experiences. Helen Dunstan graciously allowed me to use and quote from a wonderful manuscript she is working on, and Tom Buoye shared with me harvest data he collected in Beijing. Yeh-chien Wang made available his rice price data, which I used to corroborate the data I collected; and Betty Wiens graciously gave me a copy