Origins : how Earth's history shaped human history / Lewis Dartnell.

By: Dartnell, Lewis
Material type: TextTextPublisher: New York : Basic Books, 2019Edition: First U.S. editionDescription: 346 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cmISBN: 9781541617902; 1541617908Subject(s): Human evolution | Human beings -- Origin | Historical geographyDDC classification: 599.93/8 Summary: When we talk about human history, we often focus on great leaders, population forces, and decisive wars. But how has the earth itself determined our destiny? Our planet wobbles, driving changes in climate that forced the transition from nomadism to farming. Mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece. Atmospheric circulation patterns later on shaped the progression of global exploration, colonization, and trade. Even today, voting behavior in the south-east United States ultimately follows the underlying pattern of 75 million-year-old sediments from an ancient sea. Everywhere is the deep imprint of the planetary on the human. From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins reveals the breathtaking impact of the earth beneath our feet on the shape of our human civilizations.
List(s) this item appears in: New Popular Science Books | New Adult Nonfiction
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Adult Book Phillipsburg Free Public Library
Adult Non-Fiction New Books 599.938 DAR Available 36748002467407
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A New York Times -bestselling author explains how the physical world shaped the history of our species <br> When we talk about human history, we often focus on great leaders, population forces, and decisive wars. But how has the earth itself determined our destiny? Our planet wobbles, driving changes in climate that forced the transition from nomadism to farming. Mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece. Atmospheric circulation patterns later on shaped the progression of global exploration, colonization, and trade. Even today, voting behavior in the south-east United States ultimately follows the underlying pattern of 75 million-year-old sediments from an ancient sea. Everywhere is the deep imprint of the planetary on the human. <br> From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins reveals the breathtaking impact of the earth beneath our feet on the shape of our human civilizations. <br>

Includes bibliographical references (pages [289]-323) and index.

When we talk about human history, we often focus on great leaders, population forces, and decisive wars. But how has the earth itself determined our destiny? Our planet wobbles, driving changes in climate that forced the transition from nomadism to farming. Mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece. Atmospheric circulation patterns later on shaped the progression of global exploration, colonization, and trade. Even today, voting behavior in the south-east United States ultimately follows the underlying pattern of 75 million-year-old sediments from an ancient sea. Everywhere is the deep imprint of the planetary on the human. From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins reveals the breathtaking impact of the earth beneath our feet on the shape of our human civilizations.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Introduction (p. 1)
  • 1 The Making of Us (p. 7)
  • 2 Continental Drifters (p. 31)
  • 3 Our Biological Bounty (p. 60)
  • 4 The Geography of the Seas (p. 94)
  • 5 What We Build With (p. 127)
  • 6 Our Metallic World (p. 156)
  • 7 Silk Roads and Steppe Peoples (p. 183)
  • 8 The Global Wind Machine and the Age of Discovery (p. 217)
  • 9 Energy (p. 255)
  • Coda (p. 284)
  • Notes (p. 289)
  • Bibliography (p. 299)
  • Acknowledgements (p. 324)
  • Figure Credits (p. 325)
  • Index (p. 328)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Kirkus Book Review

A thoughtful history of our species as a product of 4 billion years of geology.According to British astrobiologist Dartnell (Science Communication/Univ. of Westminster; The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch, 2014), "to truly understand our own story we must examine the biography of the earth itself-its landscape features and underlying fabric, atmospheric circulation and climate regions, plate tectonics, and ancient episodes of climate change. In this book we'll explore what our environment has done to us." Indeed, the author largely ignores human creations or actions, including war, religion, technology, and government. Readers will encounter plenty of intriguing surprises. The study of plate tectonics, which produces earthquakes and volcanoes, is vital to understanding the rise of early civilizations. The earliest, from the Aztecs to those in Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and India, grew along fault lines that happen to be rich in water and fertile soil. "We are the children of plate tectonics," writes Dartnell. For 80 to 90 percent of our existence, our planet was hotter than today; then, 50 million years ago, it began cooling. The Antarctic ice cap first appeared 35 million years ago, the Northern ice caps 15-20 million years later. East African jungles retreated, replaced by open grasslands that encouraged the diversity of hominins as well as the large herbivorous mammals they hunted. More than 2.5 million years ago, encouraged by variations in the Earth's movement, glaciers began spreading south and then retreating in a dozen ice ages. We are currently enjoying a warm period of retreat, but the industrial burning of fossil fuels is leading to an uncertain future of increasing temperatures, acidic oceans, unstable weather, shifting rainfall patterns, and rising sea levels. Despite the inevitable gloomy conclusion, Dartnell is an engaging guide through millions of years of history.An expert chronicle of the Earth that culminates in human civilization. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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