The Great Divide: Nature and Human Nature in the Old World and the New

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9780061672453: The Great Divide: Nature and Human Nature in the Old World and the New

In 15,000 B.C. early humankind, who had evolved in Africa tens of thousands of years before, and spread out to populate the Earth, arrived in Siberia, during the Ice Age. Because so much water was locked up at that time in the great ice sheets, several miles thick, the levels of the world's oceans were much lower than they are today, and early humans were able to walk across the Bering Strait, then a land bridge, without getting their feet wet, and enter the Americas.

Then, the Ice Age came to an end, the Bering Strait re-filled with water, and humans in the Americas were cut off from humans elsewhere in the world. This division - with two great populations on Earth, each oblivious of the other - continued until Christopher Columbus 'discovered' America just before 1500 A.D. This is the fascinating subject of THE GREAT DIVIDE, which compares and contrasts the development of humankind in the 'Old World' and the 'New' between 15,000 B.C. and 1500 A.D. This unprecedented comparison of early peoples means that, when these factors are taken together, they offer a uniquely revealing insight into what it means to be human.

THE GREAT DIVIDE offers a masterly and totally original synthesis of archaeology, anthropology, geology, meteorology, cosmology and mythology, to give a new shape - and a new understanding - to human history.

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Review:

The past, Peter Watson argues in this magnificent history of sixteen and a half millenia, is a whole series of foreign countries - and explaining the differences between them helps accounts for just about everything we take for granted in the here and now....Impossible, of course, to summarise this massive book in a small review. Sufficient, perhaps, to say that the year's first necessary read is here. (Christopher Bray WORD MAGAZINE)

In drawing together evidence from complex strands of archaeology, climatology, genetics and religious symbolism, Watson is compulsively speculative. (Peter Forbes THE INDEPENDENT)

Synthesizers like Watson play a valuable role in disseminating and linking up specialist research findings (Peter Coates TLS)

An ingenious work about the course of human history...The author seems to know everything about his subject and to hold an opinion on every issue, which he enthusiastically passes on...fascinating ( KIRKUS REVIEWS)

Book Description:

The rise and fall of the great civilisations and what this meant for mankind.

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