Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2018
Any history of Homo Sapiens would be a colossal undertaking. Unfortunately, this book isn't it.

The good news:
The book started off as a captivating discussion of the development and rise of our species. It reminded me that Homo Erectus spent a million years using stone tools but went no further. That Neanderthals disappeared in Europe when Homo Sapiens arrived. And at least for me, a fresh set of insights about the Agricultural Revolution - it was an accident, we can't go back, and if it hadn't happened we'd lack anything we call civilization.

Some other provocative assertions were worth pondering. Humans are nothing more than animals with ideas. Ideas are lies we tell ourselves. And that humans unite when they shared delusions - whether it's religions, nationalism, or sports teams. Also, our entire economic system - money, capitalism, et al, is another delusion that requires our faith in order to survive.

The bad news:
It's not a history - it's "Pop History." Superficial with lots of bold assertions without any corroborating evidence. With five minutes on Google you can discover that some of the most outlandish stories are false (i.e. the Apollo astronauts encounter with the Navajo Indians.) If you thought Joseph Campbell's "Hero With a Thousand Faces" was based on real research you'll love this book. Much like Campbell Harari has given us an opinion piece disguised as a "history of humankind".

The book can be generously called a set of personal meditations of history and human nature, but done with little research and even scanter evidence. If it had been labeled such I might have approached the second half of the book differently.
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4.6 out of 5
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