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Mapping Human History: Genes, Race, and Our Common Originsby Steve Olson
Synopses & Reviews
A finalist for the National Book Award, this work follows 150,000 years of human history, tracing the origins of modern humans and the migration of our ancestors throughout the world. Maps throughout.
Book News Annotation:
Olson, a science journalist in the US, has undertaken the ambitious task of describing and defining the history of genetic ancestry worldwide, concluding that, though our awareness is always drawn to the differences, in fact humans are all related. The book is organized by broad geographical area—Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, Europe, and the Americas—with a final chapter on Hawaii as an example of a small place where several races come together. Olson talked to specialists in genetics as he traveled, and much of the book concerns the stories of different peoples seeking genetic answers to the question of their ancestry. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In a journey across four continents, acclaimed science writer Steve Olson traces the origins of modern humans and the migrations of our ancestors throughout the world over the past 150,000 years. Like Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, Mapping Human History is a groundbreaking synthesis of science and history. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including the latest genetic research, linguistic evidence, and archaeological findings, Olson reveals the surprising unity among modern humans and "demonstrates just how naive some of our ideas about our human ancestry have been" (Discover).Olson offers a genealogy of all humanity, explaining, for instance, why everyone can claim Julius Caesar and Confucius as forebears. Olson also provides startling new perspectives on the invention of agriculture, the peopling of the Americas, the origins of language, the history of the Jews, and more. An engaging and lucid account, Mapping Human History will forever change how we think about ourselves and our relations with others.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -275) and index.
About the Author
Steve Olson's Mapping Human History was a National Book Award finalist and won the Science-in-Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers. Olson has also written for the Atlantic Monthly, Scientific American, and Science. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, where he coaches the math team at a public middle school.
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