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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Finally, a synthesis of DNA and archaeological findings
on 6 September 2013
Despite my high esteem for Chris Stringer's Homo Britannicus and Barry Cunliffe's Europe Between the Oceans and Britain Begins, those books fell short of satisfying my thirst for the full integration of recent DNA findings with archaeology and its specialties. Now at last we have that in this brand new book Ancestral Journeys.
I think this book would be equally good as an overview for someone not yet familiar with the field of population genetics or the origin of the people of Europe, and as a deskside reference to European DNA for someone more familiar with the field.
The illustrations are very skilfully placed and referenced in the text, not distracting as in some books. Well done to the editor who laid all that out.
This book makes going to primary sources easy, with everything footnoted.
The book passed my two toughest tests: I spotted only one misprinted word, and the minefield of my own complicated Y-DNA haplogroup is negotiated judiciously; in fact, it is such a good description that I will probably start quoting it.
The whole book is written in an executive summary style, with short sentences usually stating only one fact. What a pleasure to read, compared to academic papers. But the text is not dumbed-down, such as by calling haplogroups by names like "Rory" or "Helen". All the correct detail is there, even if it is smoothed out for quicker reading. An example is replacing the non-self-descriptive term "Younger Dryas" with "big freeze." I like that.