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The History and Geography of Human Genes: (Abridged paperback edition) [Abridged] [Paperback]

Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza , Paolo Menozzi , Alberto Piazza
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 5, 1996 0691029059 978-0691029054 Abridged

Hailed as a breakthrough in the understanding of human evolution, The History and Geography of Human Genes offers the first full-scale reconstruction of where human populations originated and the paths by which they spread throughout the world. By mapping the worldwide geographic distribution of genes for over 110 traits in over 1800 primarily aboriginal populations, the authors charted migrations and devised a clock by which to date evolutionary history. This monumental work is now available in a more affordable paperback edition without the myriad illustrations and maps, but containing the full text and partial appendices of the authors' pathbreaking endeavor.

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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

This is the most comprehensive treatment of human genetic variations available.... It will likely play an important role in future research in anthropological genetics.... An impressive display of synthesis and analysis.


"This is the most comprehensive treatment of human genetic variations available.... It will likely play an important role in future research in anthropological genetics.... An impressive display of synthesis and analysis."--Science

"This is the most comprehensive treatment of human genetic variations available. . . . An impressive display of synthesis and analysis."--Science

"This long-awaited magnum opus is a major contribution to our knowledge of human genetic variation and its distribution on a global scale."--American Scientist

"A landmark in biology. There is nothing of its kind. . . . It represents an essential historical source for all human biologists, guaranteeing its importance in evolutionary biology."--American Journal of Human Genetics

"A magisterial survey of what is known about the distribution of human genes. . . . This book is a milestone in the pursuit of human evolutionary history."--New Scientist

"A landmark in the study of human evolution."--Trends in Genetics

"A crowning achievement, a compendium of a career's work, and a sourcebook for years to come. . . . a landmark publication, a standard by which work in this field must be judged in the future."--American Journal of Human Biology

Product Details

  • Paperback: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Abridged edition (August 5, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691029059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691029054
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 10.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review of everything June 17, 2003
Cavalli-Sforza presents the nearest approximation possible to the correlation of all measurable human genes, markers and attributes. You might think of the work as the "unified field theory" for evloutionary biology, culture and linguistics.
While the heft even of the abridged version is imposing, the component parts are manageable for those who already have basic statistical knowledge or who are willing to pay attention to the author's explanations. The world's populations are addressed in geographic chunks, and then at various appropriate points, more general conclusions drawn from the pieces.
Given the advances in genetic research acheived since publication, the model may ultimately prove more valuable than the particular contents...but for this decade the contents are fascinating.
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182 of 255 people found the following review helpful
Cavalli-Sforza & The Reality of Race by Steve Sailer The New York Times has hailed "Genes, Peoples, and Languages", the new book by Professor Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, the dean of population geneticists, for "dismantling the idea of race." In the New York Review of Books, Jared Diamond salutes Cavalli-Sforza for "demolishing scientists' attempts to classify human populations into races in the same way that they classify birds and other species into races".
Cavalli-Sforza himself has written, "The classification into races has proved to be a futile exercise"; and that "The idea of race in the human species serves no purpose."
Don't believe any of this. This is merely a politically correct smoke screen that Cavalli-Sforza regularly pumps out that keeps his life's work -- identifying the myriad races of mankind and compiling their genealogies -- from being defunded by the commissars of acceptable thinking at Stanford.
What's striking is how the press falls for his squid ink, even though Cavalli-Sforza can't resist proudly putting his genetic map showing the main races of mankind right on the cover of his 1994 magnum opus, "The History and Geography of Human Genes."
(Here's also a link to Cavalli-Sforza's map on the website of molecular anthropologist Jonathan Marks, author of "Human Biodiversity," one of the few leftists acute enough to notice the spectacular contradiction between Cavalli-Sforza's boilerplate about the meaninglessness of race and the cover of his most important book.
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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, if you can get through it... April 6, 2005
This book is very hard to get through as someone with no backing in genetics or biology, but it is very interesting, and it shows how we humans are really just like a couple thousand breeds of dogs, all slightly different, but with the same ancestor, our distant ancestor though was probably no wolf. It is interesting when they mention the little unexplainable historical abnormalities (african genes and caucasian genes in latin american indigenous populations, perhaps?) that they see in the genes of some groups of humans.

I allmost want to dedicate my life to genetics because of all the damn interesting knowledge that could be spawned from the information presented by the authors of this book. If you know anyone studying in this field, you must give them this book for christmas or something, please.

It is now my theory that human language has been the driving force behind human evolution, how often do two parents without a common language stay together 18+ years to raise a family? Just think about that, and it explains the human diaspora pretty well. Humans very rarely mate outside of their language group. You have a group of people in africa that speak the same language, then later on, two languages develop, or three or four, these people migrate off, and form a tribe, this tribe doesnt mate with other tribes because romance and love just dont work without a common language. Tribal names and language names are usually connected anyway, and this is why. When you read this book, you need to view humanity as an animal group pretty much, its very objective without any feeling. Human beings are creatures of communication, communication has driven our evolution forward. Writing started cities, before even that farming started widespread language and trading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. January 16, 2011
By Danube
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"[This] landmark global study flattens The Bell Curve, proving that racial differences are only skin deep.... The History and Geography of Human Genes is.... The book's firm conclusion.... there is 'no scientific basis' for theories touting the genetic superiority of any one population over another." - Time

This is a very interesting review by Time magazine. Notice that Time says The Bell Curve shows that race differences are more than skin deep. In reality, The Bell Curve doesn't say this at all! In fact, The Bell Curve shows that races overlap considerably. The Bell Curve is merely a statistical study of differences in behavior between races concerning; graduation rates, illegitimacy, average age, poverty rate, and IQ scores which all overlap between races.

Not only that but the book The History and Geography of Human Genes discusses literally no topics discussed in The Bell Curve. They are about completely different topics.

This whole Time review reads to me, as a illogical attempt to discredit a breakthrough book- The Bell Curve. I wonder why somebody would do this?

I highly recommend both The Bell Curve and The History and Geography of Human Genes- both are landmark books in completely different fields. Also I would recommend the book The 10,000 Year Explosion for a more up to date view of recent human evolution.
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