Tuesday, March 25, 2008

After the Ice (Book #31)

After the Ice: A Global Human History 20,000-5000 BC (Stephen Mithen, 2005) covers what anthropologists currently know about the period between the peak of the last ice age and the earliest civilizations. It's informative, especially since in general there are more books about the times before and after.

However, it's also an exhaustive, and exhausting, read. Mithen uses the device of a time-traveling anthropologist observing the cultures, but he carefully maintains his nonfictional status by not speculating much beyond the archaeological record or allowing his time traveler to interact with the people he watches. And there are only so many times he can follow the men on their hunting/herding or the women on their gathering/gardening before it gets a bit old.

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