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Blood of the Isles by [Sykes, Bryan]
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Blood of the Isles Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product Description

Review

"The science is explained with an infectious zest. His book is so revealing that the new... as well as the old should read it" (Boyd Tonkin Independent)

"Syke's scientific presentation is chatty and readable" (The Sunday Times)

"Professor Sykes has an admirably free and easy style for an academic" (Daily Mail)

"A fascinating overview of genealogical patterns and tribal heritage... [with] a stong narrative drive, pushed on by Sykes's energetic search for answers" (Telegraph Review)

"Fascinating reading. This book has all the tension of a good detective story but is actually science at its most accessible" (Sunday Express)

Book Description

How our genetic roots rewrite our history

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1970 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital; New Ed edition (28 Feb. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004LB59ZU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #202,912 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Following on from Seven Daughters of Eve, Bryan Sykes talks about the genetic evidence that supports (or disputes) traditional myth / history of the various parts of the Isles (his neutral term for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales).

The style is very chatty, presumably to counterpoint the detailed science bits; I did find that this made it read too much like Bill Bryson as I wasn't sure that reading about the ice cream being sampled on tour collecting DNA really added much to the development of the book.

I also felt let down that having set out a stall, mentioned a much earlier survey of hair / eye colour that showed regional differences, the book stops suddenly whilst beginning the development of the England story.

I almost think this was brought out to keep interest up whilst the overall work continues, and imagine that there will be further editions of this.
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Format: Paperback
An earlier review states:
"much of ths book is devoted to relating Dark Age myths, and anecdotes about the author's time collecting DNA samples, and the style is chatty, at times verging on the patronising"
I am broadly in agreement with this assessment, the book does seem to have been hastily written. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a great deal about the genetic roots of the peoples of the British isles. I would venture to say that Bryan Sykes's mix of archeological evidence, written history, and mythology truly gets the most out of genetic studies. I had so much fun that I'm giving it 5 stars.
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Format: Paperback
This is a totally engrossing book for anyone interested in British history or in genetics. The crux of the book is DNA and the genetic origins of the British people but is explained in such a beautiful way that you do not need to be a genetic scientist to understand it. In fact, myself, who has no scientific background fully understood it and found it extremely fascinating.

As Bryan Sykes explains 'this is living history, told by the real survivors of the times. the DNA that still lives within our bodies. This really is the history of the people by the people'

The author combines the findings of his genetic studies with the history, legend and folklore of the islands, Great Britain and Ireland.
He explains how in his first book The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry he discovered concrete evidence that Europeans have a predominant hunter-gatherer ancestry from people who settled on the continent 40 000 years ago or more and NOT as was commonly disseminated , by farmers from the Middle East who were supposed to have entered Europe 10 000 years ago.

In the second Chapter of the book 'who do we think we are' Sykes examines the prevailing beliefs, dogma and myths of the past about British history and origins, including the false understanding that the English are close cousins of the Germans through being descended from the Anglos-Saxon invaders who conquered what is now England in the 500-700s CE/AD.
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Format: Paperback
This interesting work is easily accessible to anybody who does not hold a detailed knowledge of genetics. Professor Sykes skillfully illustrates every chapter on each of the countries of the islands with a previous paragraph outlining some of the history of the nation.

Having grown up in a patriarchal society giving us surnames through our fathers, it changes our views of ourselves in highlighting the importance of the matriarchal line, which is just as much responsible for our existence as the father's.

Above all he successfully (to my mind) debunks theories of migration of whole peoples/linguistic groups through systematically challenging the taxonomy of peoples through blood groups, hair and eye colour, cranial measurements or other external features. When you get down to the DNA, such means of viewing people seem ridiculous.

For me it is very much a book of our time and the conclusion he makes about the origin of the nations of these islands in the last chapter made a lot of sense to me. (I won't tell you what he concludes - you'll have to read it).
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Format: Paperback
The strength of this book is its analysis of the female mitochondrial and male Y chromosome 'clans' of the British Isles, traced by the author's Oxford University group of geneticists, and its explanation of how this information is used to throw light on people's origins. However, much of ths book is devoted to relating Dark Age myths, and anecdotes about the author's time collecting DNA samples, and the style is chatty, at times verging on the patronising.

Some of his assumptions appear to me dubious. He assumes that if the DNA analysis shows that immigration was both male and female, this shows it was peaceful, but this is not borne out by experience elsewhere. The European settlement of Australia and North America was by families, but this did not prevent the settlers from violently seizing the land of the existing inhabitants.

I found the conclusion particularly disappointing. In general he accepts the view that farming was spread by diffusion of knowledge to the hunter gatherers rather than large scale immigration by farmers, yet in the final chapter he suggests that there was an early occupation by a small number of Mesolithic hunter gatherers, and later larger scale immigration by farmers. This is all the more confusing as it appears to be based on the distribution of the farming 'Jasmine' mitochondrial clan, but these were only 10% of female genes on his own figures, and the Helena clan who are nearly 50% are barely discussed. Which clan did the early Mesolithic inhabitants belong to and where did they come from? What was their contribution to the population of the British Isles today? These and other points are not discussed.

Several reviewers of Stephen Oppenheimer's 'The Origins of the British' rated it as much better than this book, and I agree with them.
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