The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (Hardback)
  • The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (Hardback)
  • The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (Hardback)
  • The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (Hardback)
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The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (Hardback) The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (Hardback)

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity (Hardback)

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£30.00
Hardback 704 Pages
Published: 19/10/2021

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Waterstones Says

An exciting collaboration between the late American anthropologist and renowned activist David Graeber and British archaeologist David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything radically overturns the enlightenment project, recasting our distant ancestors as socially and emotionally complex human beings, and offers radical lessons for how we might rethink society and our future.

Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2022

For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike - either free and equal, or thuggish and warlike. Civilization, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the eighteenth century as a reaction to indigenous critiques of European society, and why they are wrong. In doing so, they overturn our view of human history, including the origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery and civilization itself.

Drawing on path-breaking research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we begin to see what's really there. If humans did not spend 95 per cent of their evolutionary past in tiny bands of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing all that time? If agriculture, and cities, did not mean a plunge into hierarchy and domination, then what kinds of social and economic organization did they lead to? The answers are often unexpected, and suggest that the course of history may be less set in stone, and more full of playful possibilities than we tend to assume.

The Dawn of Everything fundamentally transforms our understanding of the human past and offers a path toward imagining new forms of freedom, new ways of organizing society. This is a monumental book of formidable intellectual range, animated by curiosity, moral vision and faith in the power of direct action.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780241402429
Number of pages: 704
Weight: 921 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 45 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

A boldly ambitious work ... entertaining and thought-provoking ... an impressively large undertaking that succeeds in making us reconsider not just the remote past but also the too-close-to-see present, as well as the common thread that is our shifting and elusive nature. - Andrew Anthony, Observer

What a gift ... Graeber and Wengrow offer a history of the past 30,000 years that is not only wildly different from anything we're used to, but also far more interesting: textured, surprising, paradoxical, inspiring. - William Deresiewicz, The Atlantic

Iconoclastic and irreverent ... an exhilarating read ... As we seek new, sustainable ways to organise our world, we need to understand the full range of ways our ancestors thought and lived. And we must certainly question conventional versions of our history which we have accepted, unexamined, for far too long. - David Priestland, The Guardian

Pacey and potentially revolutionary ... This is more than an argument about the past, it is about the human condition in the present. - Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

A fascinating, radical, and playful entry into a seemingly exhaustively well-trodden genre, the grand evolutionary history of humanity. It seeks nothing less than to completely upend the terms on which the Standard Narrative rests ... erudite, compelling, generative, and frequently remarkably funny ... once you start thinking like Graeber and Wengrow, it's difficult to stop. - Emily M. Kern, Boston Review

A spectacular, flashy and ground-breaking retelling of human history, blazing with iconoclastic rebuttals to conventional wisdom. Full of fresh thinking, it's a pleasure to read and offers a bracing challenge on every page. - Simon Sebag Montefiore, BBC History

A timely, intriguing, original and provocative take on the most recent thirty thousand years of human history ... consistently thought-provoking ... In forcing us to re-examine some of the cosy assumptions about our deep past, Graeber and Wengrow remind us very clearly of the perils of holding ourselves captive to a deterministic vision of human history as we try to shape our future. - James Suzman, Literary Review

An engrossing series of insights ... They re-inject humanity into our distant forebears, suggesting that our prevailing story about human history - that not much innovation occurred in human societies until the invention of agriculture - is utterly wrong. - Anthony Doerr, Observer

Fascinating, thought-provoking, groundbreaking. A book that will generate debate for years to come. - Rutger Bregman

The Dawn of Everything is also the radical revision of everything, liberating us from the familiar stories about humanity's past that are too often deployed to impose limitations on how we imagine humanity's future. Instead they tell us that what human beings are most of all is creative, from the beginning, so that there is no one way we were or should or could be. Another of the powerful currents running through this book is a reclaiming of Indigenous perspectives as a colossal influence on European thought, a valuable contribution to decolonizing global histories. - Rebecca Solnit

Synthesizing much recent scholarship, The Dawn of Everything briskly overthrows old and obsolete assumptions about the past, renews our intellectual and spiritual resources, and reveals, miraculously, the future as open-ended. It is the most bracing book I have read in recent years. - Pankaj Mishra

This is not a book. This is an intellectual feast. There is not a single chapter that does not (playfully) disrupt well seated intellectual beliefs. It is deep, effortlessly iconoclastic, factually rigorous, and pleasurable to read. - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

A fascinating inquiry, which leads us to rethink the nature of human capacities, as well as the proudest moments of our own history, and our interactions with and indebtedness to the cultures and forgotten intellectuals of indigenous societies. Challenging and illuminating. - Noam Chomsky

The book has captured the public imagination ... and is being cited as the reason why students apply to do archaeology courses. It's probably the biggest boost to the field since Indiana Jones escaped from the snake pit. - Andrew Anthony, The Observer

Graeber and Wengrow have effectively overturned everything I ever thought about the history of the world ... The authors don't just debunk the myths, they give a thrilling intellectual history of how they came about, why they persist, and what it all means for the just future we hope to create. The most profound and exciting book I've read in thirty years. - Robin D.G. Kelley, Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History, UCLA, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

Scholarly, irreverent, radical and genuinely ground-breaking - my kind of non-fiction. - Emma Dabiri

A massive, bracing book that turns ideas like progress and civilization inside out. It looks at the past with excitement and the future with optimism and invites you to do the same. - Frank Cottrell-Boyce, The Tablet

A fascinating, intellectually challenging big book about big ideas. - Kirkus

An act of intellectual effrontery that recalls Karl Marx ... The book's a gem. Its dense scholarly detail, compiling archaeological findings from some 30,000 years of global civilizations, is leavened by both freewheeling jokes and philosophic passages of startling originality ... The Dawn takes to the open sea to argue that things are, above all, subject to change. - Virginia Heffernan, Wired

A work of dizzying ambition, one that seeks to rescue stateless societies from the condescension with which they're usually treated ... Our forebears crafted their societies intentionally and intelligently: This is the fundamental, electrifying insight of The Dawn of Everything. It's a book that refuses to dismiss long-ago peoples as corks floating on the waves of prehistory. Instead, it treats them as reflective political thinkers from whom we might learn something. - Daniel Immerwahr, The Nation

Not content with different answers to the great questions of human history, Graeber and Wengrow insist on revolutionizing the very questions we ask. The result: a dazzling, original, and convincing account of the rich, playful, reflective, and experimental symposia that 'pre-modern' indigenous life represents; and a challenging re-writing of the intellectual history of anthropology and archaeology. The Dawn of Everything deserves to become the port of embarkation for virtually all subsequent work on these massive themes. Those who do embark will have, in the two Davids, incomparable navigators. - James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology, Yale University, author of Seeing Like a State

Graeber and Wengrow debug cliches about humanity's deep history to open up our thinking about what's possible in the future. There is no more vital or timely project. - Jaron Lanier

As dense, dizzying and ambitious as the title suggests, it offers a new take on 30,000 years of humanity, suggesting our present-centric focus does a disservice to the fascinating lives of our forebears, and providing fresh context for the modern condition. - City A.M.

A truly crucial book ... an engrossing and revelatory re-examination of the human past challenges us to reject outdated ideas and consider new directions for our future. - Natalie Bennett, Politic Home

A work that is at once dense, funny, thorough, joyful, unabashedly intelligent, and infinitely readable. - The Rumpus

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“Inspirational”

I have just finished this today and it is one of the most inspiring and challenging books about history I have read. Highly recommend to anyone interested in how history can show us other ways of living, or to anyone... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 32

“Absolutely brilliant”

One of my first reads of 2022 and I think it has to be one of the best books I’ve ever read! Read to feel a bit more hopeful, a bit less stuck. Graeber and Wengrow explore other possibilities and open up human history... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 20

“Well researched, beautifully crafted and thought provoking”

This book is easy to read but really thought provoking; it does a thorough job of realigning our understanding of human history through interroagting recent archaeologicval and anthropological evidence. The breadth... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 18

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