Anthropologist Alan Macfarlane writes a series of letters to his granddaughter, Lily, on his view of how the world works at the beginning of the 21st century. Each letter tackles a different topic, from love and friendship, to violence and fear. We learn the history of how we have built our current beliefs in relation to these issues and how a British perspective varies from other cultural views. Macfarlane highlights the common mistake we make in assuming that there has been a direct path through history to our current point in time. Of course in reality human history has involved many coincidences and crossroads at which the world could have turned out very differently. By helping us to recognise this Macfarlane reminds us that it is vital that we continually adjust the way we view the world and not assume we have already reached the right conclusions.
An interesting and thought provoking book, we are lucky that Macfarlane has decided to share his thoughts with all of us and not just Lily.