The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies? Hardcover – 31 Dec 2012
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A fascinating survey of a rapidly fading world (Economist)
Jared Diamond is one of the few people who have changed the way we see human nature and our history (Independent (BOOK OF THE WEEK))
Fascinating... a clear-eyed examination of life in traditional societies (Sunday Telegraph (BOOK OF THE WEEK))
Moving, well-told and fascinating.... The wide scope of the book means that almost everyone will find something of interest (Financial Times)
In The World Until Yesterday, Diamond cements his position as the most considered, courageous and sensitive teller of the human story writing today.... Diamond offers inimitable insight into our cultural history through the study of tribal communities, and an entertaining account of the human struggle.... Essential reading for anyone interested in the genesis of modern life (Independent on Sunday)
Fascinating... thought-provoking... A broad sweep through all humanity (Daily Telegraph (FIVE STARS))
The world has been waiting for this book (Times Higher Education)
One of the most interesting and arresting writers of our age.... The vast scope of his analysis, coupled with a lifetime's worth of personal insights, makes it fiercely persuasive (The Mail on Sunday)
Diamond's latest foray into a field that he has virtually made his own will be eagerly awaited by a global army of loyal readers (Observer)
A warm and reflective study... [Diamond] is a master of at least nine academic disciplines, from anthropology to ornithology, and the subject of his books is never less than everything (Bryan Appleyard Sunday Times)
About the Author
Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at UCLA. Among his many awards are the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, Japan's Cosmos Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as Poet, presented by The Rockefeller University. His previous books include "Why Is Sex Fun?," "The Third Chimpanzee," "Collapse," and "Guns, Germs, and Steel," winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
I especially loved the chapter on languages, which contained information beyond my wildest imaginings. There were many other moments of interest: how the young are treated, how the old are treated, the narrow territory ranges of many groups and the treatment of strangers.
On the other hand I found the chapters on religion and on justice to be slightly weaker, but still worthwhile (Edward Wilson is better on religion in his book `The Social Conquest of Earth').
Diamond is not overly sentimental about his subject, and he points out many features of tribal society that no one would want to copy. But there are still some aspects we could learn from, and in every respect the information here helps us understand ourselves better.
In summary, this is one of those rare books which I think will change my entire world outlook forever. Thoroughly recommended!
This rapid change provides much evidence for how traditional societies were - many people still remember in detail, and from personal experience, how they functioned - and this provides the basis for this book, along with much information about the !Kung of the Kalahari, the Ache and Sirinoco of South America, the Andaman Islanders of the Bay of Bengal, and many other traditional societies.
The author looks at land use and property, war, trade, crime and punishment, care of the elderly, raising of children, religion, diet and its consequences, language and much else, with frequent reference to modern history and modern state societies from across the world which helps to keep the narrative interesting for the general reader, as well as being very informative. The author concludes that there are aspects of traditional societies which would improve our lives today, as well as recognising the value of much of the progress which has been made in societal development around the world
I have found this book hard to put down - it is well written, at times amusing, and always interesting. I had never read Jared Diamond's work before but I shall certainly read his other books now.
He has done just that with his latest book which sets out to apply the lessons of hunter-gatherer life to today's world. He leans heavily on his experience with the tribes of New Guinea but synthesizes it with a wide range of other sources - for example Daniel Everett's Pirahã of the Amazon Don't Sleep, There are Snakes, Richard Lee's San Bushmen Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers, Frank Marlowe's Hadza The Hadza and many others.
This is important, since the New Guinea tribes in many ways are not representative of our formative Pleistocene past. They don't live as foragers in a sparsely inhabited savanna but as gardeners/swine-herds in a crowded, wet, jungle environment.
Having said that, Diamond tackles diverse subjects such as Warfare; The Workplace; Justice, Disputes and Vendettas; Religion; Health; Multilingualism; Old People; Risk and many more.
Many of these are difficult topics for a UCLA professor to deal with honestly. He has to avoid academia from metaphorically burning him at the stake for political incorrectness. He has to avoid thought-crime!
So Diamond's prose is reminiscent of Darwin's in ...Read more ›
For some reason, he's really upset some people. You'd think this was a soldier's autobiography entitled "my struggle". Reading this fairly mild mannered book, which considers the good and the bad points of "Westernised" society versus the good and bad points of (uh oh, how to categorise without incurring the ire of guily Whities) "traditional" societies (oops, said it, quick, duck!). Diamond mildly concludes there's contradictory advantages to both. The only point he's really vehement about is how we should all cut down on salt, fat and sugar content. Ta Jared for finally getting into my head what blood pressure measurments mean, but otherwise it was just an imiable read for me hence 4 stars.
So wassup? Technically Diamond's statement that us as anatomically modern humans have been gatherer-hunters for most of our existence is correct (Palaeolithic...old stone age will do as a term).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thoughtful and thought provoking. Having worked for over 4 years in PNG I can appreciate the authors insights all the more and many of his ideas I have thought myself so it is... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Mark Coyne
Not as good as his previous books. A bit repetitive and ponderousPublished 4 months ago by Robert G. Thoday
One of the best thinking from the great author. Most useful and relevant for the modern day.
Worthy purchase I must say! Thanks.
Fascinating look at traditional societies - mostly based on the author's own experiences - that provides a fresh perspective on our world.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I only bought this for the chapter on the effects of SALT as displayed on a primitive, untouched population which was excellent. The rest is rather laborious so I didn't read it. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mrs John Souther
an eye opener-----Particularly relevant to todays IS and western European situationPublished 17 months ago by Doug campbell