43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Surrounded by our Ancient Past,
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This review is from: A History of Ancient Britain (Hardcover)
I'm already a fan of the author, having read some of his earlier work, including 'A History of Scotland', which I thoroughly enjoyed. I find his enthusiasm as a broadcaster and archaeologist fully engaging. This book goes back into the ancient history of the British Isles. When he says ancient he means it. Fossil records of pre-neaderthal man have been found in Wales dating back to before the last Ice Age. Our early British ancestors, Homo Erectus, began to use stone tools at some point around 1 million years ago. The earliest hominid remains, of Homo heidelbergensis, were discovered in Britain date back 500,000 years, being found in Boxgrove, West Sussex in 1993. These time scales are mind boggling, and I think put into perspective just how our species has developed a DNA of tenacity and adaptability. Oliver explores the life and experiences of our early ancestors, using geography and psychology as major factors influencing the way they lived and developed.
We think times are hard today with recession, global warming and EEC banking meltdown in the news everyday. If nothing else this work helps keep things in perspective. Compared to our early predecessors we've got it easy. This is a very well researched work, full of thought provoking material. Including the fact that we were once linked to continental Europe along Dogger Bank, (an old Dutch word for a cod fishing boat), before a huge Norwegian Tsunami flooded the East coast of the British Isles with vast volumes of water. Almost unbelievable to think of the devastation this event caused to those caught up in the catastrophe.
This book is a wonderful contribution to the history of the British Isles from Deep Time to the Middle Ages. Definitely one of my favourite books from this year.