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From Animals into Gods: A Brief History of Humankind Paperback – July 16, 2012

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About the Author

Dr. Yuval Noah Harari lectures at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He specializes in World History, medieval history and military history. His current research focuses on macro-historical questions: What is the relation between history and biology? Is there justice in history? Did people become happier as history unfolded? Previous publications include "Special Operations in the Age of Chivalry, 1100-1550" (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2007); "The Ultimate Experience: Battlefield Revelations and the Making of Modern War Culture, 1450-2000" (Houndmills: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2008); “The Concept of ‘Decisive Battles’ in World History”, The Journal of World History 18:3 (2007), 251-266; and “Armchairs, Coffee and Authority: Eye-witnesses and Flesh-witnesses Speak about War, 1100-2000”, The Journal of Military History 74:1 (January 2010), pp. 53-78. His most recent book is titled "From Animals into Gods: A Brief History of Humankind". Originally published in Hebrew, the book surveys the entire length of human history, from the evolution of Homo sapiens in Pleistocene East Africa up to the political and technological revolutions of the twenty-first century. The Hebrew edition has become a bestseller in Israel, and it is now being translated into English and German.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 494 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1478237856
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478237853
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,273,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By LionOfArnona on July 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
If the proverbial Martian were to write a history of Humankind, and s/he were capable of empathy, it might look something like this book.

This isn't history of Kings and dates, this is history on the grand scale of the epic changes we have gone through: from being just another primate on the African Savanna, to being capable of nuclear fission and genetic engineering.

Harari's history is wider ranging than Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel (and not prone to Diamond's Geographical Determinism), and more focused on Humanity than Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything.

What is really outstanding about this book is that Harari manages to defamiliarize Human culture, taking us along for a ride on the flip side of reality. In a set piece at the beginning of the book, he takes the Peugeot symbol and shows that magic is not relegated to our past: the Peugeot corporation exists only in 'inter-subjective reality'; a calamity could come along and destroy all Peugeot assets, and even kill all Peugeot employees, but Peugeot would continue to exist. But if a certain class of shaman/wizard called a 'Judge' or 'Lawyer' were to perform a certain ceremony in just the right way, he can dissolve the corporation and it would cease to exist, even though all the assets and people who used to belong to the corporation are alive and well.

This is one example of the fruit of the first revolution in Human history: the verbal revolution. Harari guides us through two more, the agricultural revolution and the scientific revolution.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ehud Amir on July 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
From Animals into Gods: A Brief History of Humankind

At the 16th Century, Peter Bruegel the Elder has painted his Landscape with the Fall of Icarus: a farmer works in the field, ships sail by - and at the bottom, at the corner, almost invisible, Icarus falls to the sea. The Icarus Myth is remembered for thousands of years; the farmer in the painting had lived and died in anonymity. Why, therefore, had Bruegel painted such a small and marginal Icarus and such a central farmer?

"A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari isn't a conventional, standard history book. Its points of view are of a surprise also for the scholar reader and the professional historian; they satisfy one's curiosity, they are thought-provoking and they may enrage many readers. It's not a history text whose content is foreseeable, that fits a certain outlook, and in whose index the reader might find anything he already knows, expects and likes.

Through illuminating connections between events and their meanings, and through a spectacular integration of history, paleontology, anthropology and sociology, Harari reviews the key questions dealing with the riddle of our being here: how had Homo Sapiens had developed from a minor zoological species to the position of the ruler of the Earth? Which mental structures and beliefs it had created in order to stabilize and expand its domination? What were these ideas? How were created the ideas which had changed human history? What can one learn about the human nature by reviewing the way it all had happened?
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Rony R on July 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Brilliant book! Every chapter adds another engaging insight into our understanding of the world. Our History, philosophy, psychology, economy, culture and beliefs are all cleverly analyzed and illuminated with clarity, common sense, innovation and compassion.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Erez Davidi on June 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
"From Animals into Gods: A Brief History of Humankind" was (and I think still is) a bestseller in Israel for months topping even fiction books, which is quite an achievement. Despite the raving recommendations, I was fairly suspicious of this book, chiefly because I tend to think it's somewhat impossible to condense the history of humankind into 400 pages without resorting to shallowness and simplistic explanations. Nonetheless, at last I decided to read it. My early reticence was quite correct, but I still enjoyed this book very much.

It can easily be understood why this book became such a bestseller. The chapters tend to be short, the author keeps his argument short and the more complicated explanations are simplified. And yes, the writing is lucid and the subject is truly interesting, especially because the author doesn't tend to be overly technical. Yet, one must bear in mind that it is oftentimes somewhat shallow. To illustrate, when discussing "the religion of Capitalism" and, more specifically, the fiercely debated topic of how to insure that workers are being paid fairly, he points out that Capitalism's true believers' assurance that business owners will pay fair wages to their workers is to ensure they have consumers for their products (the famous "Ford argument"). In other words, if their workers do not make enough money for spending, who will buy their products? This is not the main reason Capitalists believe that workers will get paid a fair wage, it is competition. If a business owner is underpaying his employee, his employee has the option of quitting and going to work somewhere else for a higher salary.
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