In Prehistory, the award winning archaeologist and renowned scholar Colin Renfrew covers human existence before the advent of written recordsthe overwhelming majority of our time here on earthand gives an incisive, concise, and lively survey of the past, and of how scholars and scientists labor to bring it to light Renfrew begins by looking at prehistory as a discipline, detailing how breakthroughs such as radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis have helped us to define humankinds pasthow things have changedmuch clearly than was possible just a half century ago As for why things have changed, Renfrew pinpoints some of the issues and challenges, past and present, that confront the study of prehistory and its investigators Renfrew then offers a summary of human prehistory from early hominids to the rise of literate civilization that is refreshingly free of conventional wisdom and grand unified theories In this invaluable account, Colin Renfrew delivers a meticulously researched and passionately argued chronicle about our life on earthand our ongoing quest to understand it....
|Title||:||Prehistory: The Making of the Human Mind (Modern Library Chronicles)|
|Publisher||:||Modern Library Reprint edition August 11, 2009|
|Number of Pages||:||240 pages|
|File Size||:||672 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Prehistory: The Making of the Human Mind (Modern Library Chronicles) Reviews
I liked the book and found most reviews here to be overly negative. However, it is true that it would be good if the author had pursued the "Sapient Paradox" more fully. Renfrew does point out that the huge and accelerating advances by modern man, starting about 5-10 thousand years ago, made the ancient million year long history of primitive primates seem constant and stagnant. However, he does emphasize the unique nature of modern man who suddenly appeared 80-100 thousand years ago. Those unique individuals had the power of speech, an advanced pre-frontal cortex, and an extensive 25 year maturation and development of cognitive skills. And he shows how even during the first 50,000 years of modern man's existence as hunter gatherers there were minimal advances until about 10,000 years ago, when the agricultural and pastoral Ages led to the growth of settled communities in those few regions where the people took to such farming cultures.
Informative but not written with my layman's understanding in mind. I frequently had to read paragraphs several times to gain an understanding. Perhaps the author would do well to reflect on "eschew sesquipedalian obfuscation". I almost bailed out on reading this more than once.
I had to order this book for a class and it was a good read. I usually don't expect class books to be engaging or easy to get through but this one did surpass my expectations. Anyone interested in prehistory should give it a whirl, you might be pleasantly surprised.
This small book will stimulate your thinking whether you agree with it or not. I found it a great jumping-off point that aimed me toward more detailed texts and ideas, especially in sociology.
Renfrew's book proved once again that he is an excellent teacher of prehistory. I found his discussion of symbols was clear, something I had had difficulty grasping before as a rank layman. His example of the weight concept to illustrate the process of symbols is covered in a very understandable way. I would suggest that a familarity with an overall picture of prehistory might make this book more meaningful.
An excellent read. Very clear explanation of background before presenting his new proposals. Lots of synthesis of information that was very useful to non-specialists. My only complaint: the Kindle copy had no easy way to cite places in the text - page numbers would be great!
This is a comprehensive and authoritative presentation of human prehistory. Well written and highly entertaining. I learned a great deal. I recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the origins of human society.
I thoroughly enjoyed Prehistory! Colin Renfrew really knows his stuff.