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How To Think Like a Neandertal Hardcover – 26 Jan 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (26 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199742820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199742820
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 2.3 x 16.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 508,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

[An] engaging recontruction of Neanderthal life. (New York Times)

What it would be like to encounter a Homo Neanderthalensis, dressed in modern garb, waiting for a bus. Would he or she be noticeably different from modern humans? This fascinating book takes the reader quite a long way toward an answer to that seemingly unanswerable question. (American Psychological Association)

About the Author

is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steven R. McEvoy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Feb 2012
Format: Hardcover
The title and cover of this book immediately grabbed my attention. First, and they allude to this a few times in the book, is the series of commercials for car insurance with the slogan 'So easy even a caveman could do it'. And second, is the number of people I know who have applied Paleo or Primal caveman diet as part of their lifestyle and fitness regime. Those two points caused me to pick up the book. But this academic exercise was so much more than I could have expected. It was fascinating, and I found repeatedly that I could not put it down, or alternately had to put it down and really ponder and think about what the authors had just espoused. It was an incredible read and I have recommended it to about a dozen people, a few who told me they were hooked part way into the first chapter. The structure of the book is:

1. True Grit
2. The Caveman Diet
3. Zen and the Art of Spear Making
4. A Focus on Family
5. It's Symbolic
6. Speaking of Tongues
7. A Neandertal Walked into a Bar . . .
8. To Sleep, Perchance to Dream
9. You've Got Personality
10. Thinking Like a Neandertal
Glossary
Index

This was a magnificent read. I have read science fiction about Neandertals such as Robert J. Sawyer's Hominid trilogy, The Neandertal Parallaz: Hominids, Humans and Hybrids. And I've seen numerous science fiction movies with some level of Neandertal involvement. But this book looks at the historic evidence, weighing commonly accepted theories and disputed theories. It compares and contrasts what we find in the archeological records about Homo Sapiens Neanderthalis and Homo Sapiens Sapiens. It also compares the records with current hunter-gatherer tribes and also with some other primates both existing and ancient.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Patricia Young on 25 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought this book last week & finished it yesterday, I was totally engrossed & a good many questions answered. I always wanted to read more about the cognitive behaviour of our enigmatic Neanderthals, easy reading which is not dull & prosaic. Very in depth & definitely a favourite book of mine on this subject. Loved the 'You've got personality' & 'Thinking like a Neanderthal' chapters especially. Very enlightening to read up on how a Neanderthal would live & learn if brought up by us, what career/jobs etc they could do. This book is a must if you love anything to do with Neanderthals! (Yes I am aware that it is spelt Neandertal in this book-no right or wrong way).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By papapete on 18 Feb 2012
Format: Hardcover
This up to date account summarises very well all the latest developments as well as presenting its own slant on how these people survived in the hard world without any of the things we need for a comfortable life. Now Neandertal paintings have been found in Nerja cave their story must be re-written again
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Belcher on 13 Jan 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a truly excellent read that mixes academic rigour, real research data/reporting and the latest theories (at least at the time of publication) with a very captivating writing style. It is both engaging, intellectually challenging, humorous (at least in places) and a real page turner. I'd rate this of being of interest to both the specialist and more interested lay reader.

I brought this having read Palaeolithic archaeology at university and having worked for a couple of years in a research/field capacity, so I could be considered reasonably knowledgeable on the subject. But that was over 15 years ago now and so this had lots of finds, data and theories that I was not up to date with. It was a great way to get right up to date on various theories and finds in this intersting area of the palaeolithic. Whilst it might help being somewhat aware of archaeology, I don't think it would be essential to get lots out of this book. It is written in such a style that it really does provide all of the information the reader needs as they go along. It contains a reasonable glossary but I didn't need to refer to that when reading, as the authors did a good job of clearly defining terms, contexts and places as they went along. I must say I really liked the way they did that - that kind of writing can help open up interesting academic areas of study and I think shows a writer/scientist that is really interested in communicating their subject. Rather than just an academic using complex words as a mask of intellectual elitism. That or a good editor.

From the nature of the subject, the book does get a bit weaker towards the end, as the theroy gets more distant from the physical archaeological record.
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