Top positive review
144 people found this helpful
Very clear and authoritative survey of human origins
on 5 July 2011
Just two chapters into this book I have to pause and tell other Amazon users that this is definitely a 5-star book, for two reasons. First, Dr. Stringer was actually a party to much of the research on early humans conducted since the 1970s, so his first-hand survey is as authoritative as any could possibly be. Second, this lucid work on a complex subject is completely accessible to the general reader. What a pleasure it is not to have to run to the dictionary or the rest of my bookshelf, or to dubious Wikipedia entries, when encountering the jargon of this field. It's explained right there in the text, including the etymology (e.g. "These iconic artefacts characterize the Aterian industry, first recognized at the Algerian site of Bir el-Ater..."). And the train of thought in his explanations reflects the skill of someone who has discussed these topics time and time again. What this book lacks in pretty color photos is more than compensated for in the information conveyed.
Edit: Having finished the book, I want to comment that it provides the most comprehensive information I have seen on the following topics:
Where in the world humans originated
Did Neanderthals interbreed with modern humans?
Early humans in Africa
The mind of early humans, origin of culture, art, spirituality (not actually something I've read much about before)