- Paperback: 640 pages
- Publisher: W&N; New Ed edition (4 Mar. 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0753813920
- ISBN-13: 978-0753813928
- Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 4.3 x 21.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 221,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000 - 5000 BC Paperback – 4 Mar 2004
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This massive and clever book opens modern scholarship about the distant past to nonspecialists. Buyers of this book will get their money's worth. It comes with a generous supply of maps and pictures of artifacts and digs, some of which are in color...Erudite and also quirky, Mithen summarizes the work of contemporary archaeologists, often by recounting his own visits to archaeological sites and drawing on insights from recent research on paleoclimates and human genetics...This impressive book stands out as the new standard work.--David M. Fahey "The Historian "
A fantastic voyage through 15,000 years of history that laid the foundations for civilisation as we know it by award-winning science writer Steven Mithen.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
Anatomically-modern humans, the same in every physical respect as we are today, evolved perhaps 100,000 years ago, and for 80 millennia eked out a living in the harsh conditions of the Ice Ages. Soon after 20,000 BC, global warming began, and the great ice sheets began their retreat. Fluctuations in climate brought about immense changes in animal and plant species and their distributions; with them came a wholesale change in the character of human societies. By 5,000 BC, says Mithen, the foundations for the modern world were laid. Farming, a sedentary lifestyle, craft specialisation and social stratification all emerged in the period running up to the zenith of the Neolithic. "Nothing that came after -- Classical Greece, the Industrial revolution, the atomic age or the Internet -- has ever matched the significance of those events".
Many books have been written about the Mesolithic and Neolithic ages, yet none of them has attempted anything as ambitious as this book. Mithen has aimed his work at the widest possible readership while maintaining an appropriate level of academic rigour; readers who wish to follow up on any of the themes, sites and periods discussed can refer to his comprehensive bibliography. The chronological and geographical scope of the book is immense, as its subtitle suggests. The true ambition of the book, however, is to close the gap between ourselves and the distant past.Read more ›
By-and-large Mithen carries it off triumphantly, despite misgivings about the hugeness of the task and his chosen methodology: to describe the past through the eyes of an imaginary time-travelling `visitor' from modern times. It sounds rather naff, worthy only of science fiction novels, but actually it really does work once the reader adjusts to the idea. Mithen's narrative firstly discusses the world being experienced by this `visitor' before explaining where this picture came from in terms of archaeology and scientific research. In this manner is the past brought more vividly to life than it might be with a simple trawl through scientific data.
There is so much to learn from a book like this. Covering 15,000 years, and visiting all continents in turn, it contains a mind-boggling array of fascinating material on cultures sometimes barely understood and seldom discussed outside of academic circles. It certainly underlines how little some of us know about huge swathes of our worldly past. Much of it must be conjecture and thus open to debate, potential contradiction and subsequent displacement by new theories.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fast delivery through the Christmas chaos; wonderful book for the lazy days between festivals.Published 5 months ago by C. Ritchie
Despite being very interested in the subject, I found the book hard to get through. Perhaps it's just me. Read morePublished 14 months ago by ESMedici
Exemplifies the long standing trend in tv history programmes that spend the better part of the hour in constructing some hack's romanticised view of the past and only a few... Read morePublished 20 months ago by MV
This book is fundamental though definitely already very old. The last twelve years in archaeology have been crucial in phenomenal advances thanks to DNA essentially since now the... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
This is a large well written book covering a large section of history.
I liked the factual sections of the book which were interesting and informative. Read more
I was in the process of buying DVDs, and for the first time I decided to buy a used DVD. I do not know what happened in the process but I ended up by receiving a tatty and smelly... Read morePublished on 13 April 2014 by Dale
This book is engaging, engrossing, informative and evocative. If I was 30 years younger I'm sure it would have inspired me to pursue a degree in archaeology.Published on 5 Mar. 2014 by Hominid
I found the presence of the time traveller rather disconcerting at first until I realised that he was there to serve as a link between the far distant past, the Victorian point of... Read morePublished on 29 Aug. 2013 by Valerie David
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