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A Brief History of the Human Race

de Michael Cook

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Why has human history been crowded into the last few thousand years? Why has it happened at all? Could it have happened in a radically different way? What should we make of the disproportionate role of the West in shaping the world we currently live in? This witty, intelligent hopscotch through human history addresses these questions and more. Michael Cook sifts the human career on earth for the most telling nuggets and then uses them to elucidate the whole. From the calendars of Mesoamerica and the temple courtesans of medieval India to the intricacies of marriage among an aboriginal Australian tribe, Cook explains the sometimes eccentric variety in human cultural expression. He guides us from the prehistoric origins of human history across the globe through the increasing unification of the world, first by Muslims and then by European Christians in the modern period, illuminating the contingencies that have governed broad historical change. "A smart, literate survey of human life from paleolithic times until 9/11."--Edward Rothstein, The New York Times… (mais)
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Exibindo 4 de 4
Despite the fact that Cook does an exellent job of taking us through all of the myriad cultures of the world, and asking what happened there and why (much of the time the answer is 'geography'), I did not like this book. I did like his summary of one Arab ethnographer's reasoning behind differences in peoples: the dumb-blonde theory (northern lattitudes produce "blonde and stupid" people while southern lattitude light levels produce "black and foolish" peoples, explaining why peoples from the middle range lattitudes have moderate skin tones and the sciences.
I particularly disliked his use of Britain as a model country: why not one of the Scandinavian island nations, which by most measures does even better for lawfullness, stable government and economic well-being?

Turns out that Cook, like Armstrong, ( please read also: [b:Islam: A Short History|27306|Islam A Short History|Karen Armstrong|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1403181902s/27306.jpg|131885]
by Karen Armstrong ) is a scholar of Islamic history in particular. ( )
  FourFreedoms | May 17, 2019 |
Despite the fact that Cook does an exellent job of taking us through all of the myriad cultures of the world, and asking what happened there and why (much of the time the answer is 'geography'), I did not like this book. I did like his summary of one Arab ethnographer's reasoning behind differences in peoples: the dumb-blonde theory (northern lattitudes produce "blonde and stupid" people while southern lattitude light levels produce "black and foolish" peoples, explaining why peoples from the middle range lattitudes have moderate skin tones and the sciences.
I particularly disliked his use of Britain as a model country: why not one of the Scandinavian island nations, which by most measures does even better for lawfullness, stable government and economic well-being?

Turns out that Cook, like Armstrong, ( please read also: [b:Islam: A Short History|27306|Islam A Short History|Karen Armstrong|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1403181902s/27306.jpg|131885]
by Karen Armstrong ) is a scholar of Islamic history in particular. ( )
  ShiraDest | Mar 6, 2019 |
In "A brief history of the human race" geeft Michael Cook een kort overzicht van de geschiedenis in verschillende delen van de wereld. Het belangrijkste aandachtspunt is de vraag hoe de verschillende gebieden met elkaar te vergelijken zijn. Niet zo indrukwekkend als het boek van Jared Diamond maar toch de moeite waard. ( )
  erikscheffers | Sep 1, 2010 |
Sweeping across the whole of human history over the last 10,000 years, this work addresses some of the most fascinating questions about our past. Why did we first emerge as a species in Africa and why was the Ancient Near East the place where civilization took off? Why did civilizations develop, and also decline, at markedly different rates around the world? How did the great world religions arise and the worship of many gods give way to just one? And why did Britain, peripheral to world history for millennia, play such a dominant role in the last few centuries? Michael Cook explores the great forces that have shaped our past - natural disasters, human ingenuity, availability of resources - and along the way zooms in on some of the details of history, from the arcane burial customs of ancient Mexican kings and the erotic temple carvings of India, to the design of snuff boxes and the forging of antiques in ancient Rome. Cook shows that humankind has rarely been slow to take advantage of an opportunity when it has come within grasp - from the domestication of the horse to the exploration of space.
1 vote antimuzak | Jul 11, 2008 |
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Why has human history been crowded into the last few thousand years? Why has it happened at all? Could it have happened in a radically different way? What should we make of the disproportionate role of the West in shaping the world we currently live in? This witty, intelligent hopscotch through human history addresses these questions and more. Michael Cook sifts the human career on earth for the most telling nuggets and then uses them to elucidate the whole. From the calendars of Mesoamerica and the temple courtesans of medieval India to the intricacies of marriage among an aboriginal Australian tribe, Cook explains the sometimes eccentric variety in human cultural expression. He guides us from the prehistoric origins of human history across the globe through the increasing unification of the world, first by Muslims and then by European Christians in the modern period, illuminating the contingencies that have governed broad historical change. "A smart, literate survey of human life from paleolithic times until 9/11."--Edward Rothstein, The New York Times

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