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The Great Human Diasporas: A History of Diversity and Evolution (Helix Books) Hardcover – 25 Aug 1995


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Perseus Books (25 Aug. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201407558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201407556
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,773,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforzais Emeritus Professor of Genetics at Stanford University Medical School. He is the author of a number of seminal scientific books.Francesco Cavalli-Sforza is creator and producer of educational films, based primarily in Italy. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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I am not a hunter by nature. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
An extraordinarily clear account of the many interrelated issues in science and archaeology that contribute to our current understanding of human development. After reading any number of books touching on the same material, it was refreshing to read such lucid and literate explanations of so many complex issues. Most of all I was impressed by the way that personal opinion was clearly stated and not disguised as fact. A tour-de-force!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Mar. 1998
Format: Paperback
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, a well known and respected geneticist, has teamed up with his son, Francesco Cavalli-Sforza, to write a superb, well-informed, literate, and easy to read book on genetics, race, and evolution. Using the elder Cavalli-Sforza's own research and that of others, the team weaves a story, starting with research on the pygmies, that entertains as well as informs. I am a scientist, but not a geneticist; what I particularly liked about this book is that it spoke in non-jargon language, yet did not shy away from the sophistication and complexity involved in the subject matter. I also liked and applauded the way the authors forthrightly and honestly dealt with subjects of controversy, such as the concept of race, racism, race and IQ, and so forth. Their destruction of the arguments of Jensen, Shockley and Herrnstein that the differences in IQ between Blacks and whites is genetic is beautiful and complete. This is a wonderful book for the layperson as well as the expert who wishes to read outside his or her field.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 6 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
Here is a theory that springs to mind from reading this sometimes overly simple primer but enjoyable explanation of the fantastic lifework of a humane (if sometimes rather kneejerky liberal) genius, a statistical anthropologist (most anthropologists only think they are scientists, Cavalli-Sforza really is): The map of the "Megalithic culture" in the book, based on their megalithic remains, has a striking similarity to the map of the genetic characteristics of people associated with the Basques, except for there being no Basque strain on Sardinia. And a map of the Celts in Western Europe is highly similar. And if memory serves, so is a map of the dispersion of the Vikings in Western Europe (the latter two, even had an impact on Sicily, as I recall, based on a wave of Celts/Phoenicians). What would cause the familiar pattern? 1. This is a natural pattern by people who settle the Western European lands by arriving at them by sea. 2. They are forced onto border areas by indigenous people or by new groups immigrating by land. 3. Both 1. and 2. The Basques may have found refuge in the Pyranees and been there so long that it accounts for their genetic radiation from that stronghold, but note that otherwise they tend to be a coastal people hugging the Western shores and islands. The lack of representation on Sardinia (although there is some representation on Corsica it appears) could be due to the Basques being so ancient and to island peoples in the Mediterranean being more easily replaced or diluted racially by invaders than on the mainland (even though islanders may be more completely isolated for longer periods of time than mainlanders).Read more ›
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By Normand Hamel on 26 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
Imagine a scientist, Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, recounting his professional life to his son, Francesco Cavalli-Sforza, a creator and producer of educational films. That is more or less what this book is all about. But it is still written as a first-person account, presumably because the interview form would have been too dry. Because the author speaks to a non-scientist you can imagine that the book is not intended for specialists. Obviously a great effort was deployed to make a difficult subject, population genetics, accessible to a vast public. The chapters are quite varied and the reader may have the impression that the author is jumping from one topic to another; but this only reflects the fact that the book covers the entire career of the author and that his professional endeavours are relatively vast in scope. But the overall coherence is preserved because all the topics have something to do with population genetics, which is the common thread here.

If you are already familiar with the basic concepts of the gene you may have the impression at the beginning that the book was written for children. The author seems to assume that the reader knows next to nothing about biological sciences. If that is the case for you you will love it. But if you have already been initiated you will have to be patient and wait for the second half of the book where we enter into the meat of the subject. Here is what you can expect, as presented in the preface:

Chapter 1 discusses the pygmies and the last remaining tribes of hunter-gatherers, those who still practice the lifestyle that characterized the whole species until ten thousand years ago.
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