Although I wasn’t too sure about this book at first, I came to really enjoy and appreciate it. I read this for the AllNonfiction group for March but we had just read The Tangled Tree (link to my review on this site) by David Quammen in January. That’s why I wasn’t sure about my interest – I enjoyed that book quite a lot but I like to switch around.
A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived
By Adam Rutherford
2017 / 420 pages
Read by Adam Rutherford – 12h 13m
Rating: 9 – genetics
(both read and listened)
But Rutherford’s book goes in a different direction than Quammen’s. Where The Tangled Tree delves into how the “tree of life” branches to the point not being really recognizable as a “tree,” Rutherford’s book looks at recent DNA findings in humans.
This makes for fascinating reading after you get into it a bit because he touches on the origins and spread of humanity including the Bering Land Bridge, the Americas and South Pacific Islands. Then he getting back to Europe and how DNA of Charlemagne, Genghis Khan and other powerful genetic sources. Part II gets into specific hereditable and non-heritable aspects of human make-up like race, intelligence, criminal behavior, and fate, etc. as well as the place of environment and nurture plus possible futures.
There is an abundance of moderately well organized source material plus side comments. Both are valuable. There are also graphs and mapsl and these are provided as a PDF file from Audible.
The thing about Rutherford is that he writes well and the narrative varies between rather difficult and chatty, fun. Actually, the book goes right to the tip of my ability to comprehend, but then lowers that demand to being quite down-to-earth. An added bonus, he reads it very, very well.