First Peoples in a New World: Colonizing Ice Age America First Edition
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"In remarkably comprehensive and lucid fashion, Meltzer synthesizes the complex and commonly conflicting evidence for the earliest human presence in the Americas and provides an honestly told lesson about the workings of scientific thought."David Hurst Thomas, author of Skull Wars
"A natural storyteller, David Meltzer gives us a vivid picture of both the colonizing bands of humans who moved into the Americas and the researchers who followed their footsteps from Alaska to Chile. This is an insider's account, told with a keen eye and sense of humor, as if Meltzer were there when discoveries were made and when disputes were airedas, indeed, he often was."Ann Gibbons, author of The First Human: The Race to Discover our Earliest Ancestors
"The settling of the Americas has been a first-rate scientific puzzle since Columbus stumbled across the peoples of the Caribbean. David Meltzer is its ideal chronicler: a major participant in the research that is unlocking the mystery and a fine writer with a wry humor. Thank goodness there aren't too many scientists like himscience journalists like me would be out of business."Charles C. Mann, author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
- Item Weight : 2.2 pounds
- Paperback : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0520267990
- ISBN-13 : 978-0520267992
- Product Dimensions : 7 x 1.11 x 10 inches
- Publisher : University of California Press; First Edition (November 30, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #490,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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A few negatives. The book could have used more maps, especially maps with current state lines and cities drawn in, so that you can easily see how the discussion relates to modern America. The book could have used more summary sentences - for instance, after reading all the technical parts on DNA evidence, I would have liked a summary of what the heck we just learned. Some things aren't explained well - for instance, "fluted" points are discussed throughout the book, but I still don't understand what "fluting" actually means. More diagrams and layman discussion would have been helpful. The book could have used a better editor - the word "that" is missing from hundreds of sentences. These small grammatical issues made the reading less enjoyable.
The book can be very technical. Chapter 2, especially, was a hard slog (though so important to understanding everything that I'm sure I will reread that chapter again at some point). I wish the book had given a few more nods to non-expert readers like myself. But overall, this book is excellent and exactly what I was looking for. Meltzer is an even-handed expert, and this book is probably the best book you'll find explaining our current understanding of how humans got to North America, and how they spread in the first couple thousand years. I would definitely recommend this to American history buffs who want to go all the way back to the beginning of people in North America. My perspective on Native Americans is changed and very much enriched as a result of reading this book.
Top reviews from other countries
This book presents an up to date view of all the current theories on who, how and when they came to the Americas first, objectively giving the pros and cons for each. Meltzer's opinions and conclusions do come through but do not over shadow the information. As such it is a great reference source at a university level that includes an historical perspective.
The writing style features a wry humor and interesting narrative not often found in what could be used a text book, making it clear enough to be of interest to the general reader, requiring no prior knowledge in the field of archaeology.
This is clear presentation of one of most controversial topics in archaeology.
Even as one involved in the field of archaeology I still found it informative with a rare objective overview and will continue to be used as one of my key references.