The First Humans: Human Origins and History to 10,000 B.C. (Illustrated History of Humankind, Vol. 1)

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9780062502650: The First Humans: Human Origins and History to 10,000 B.C. (Illustrated History of Humankind, Vol. 1)

Spanning human history to 10,000 B.C., a look at human history discusses the great apes, the origins of language, dating the past, global expansion, and extinct species and features photographs, illustrations, diagrams, and maps. 20,000 first printing. $70,000 ad/promo.

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From Library Journal:

This book launches a new series, "The Illustrated History of Humankind," which has been put together by an international team of anthropologists, archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, and more and carries the imprimatur of the American Museum of Natural History. Visually, this first of the five-volume series is a success. Hundreds of striking color photographs, especially the landscapes and cave paintings, make this book great for browsing. Reading the text is less pleasurable. The editors correctly emphasize that paleonthropology has its share of controversies, but this approach leads to a lack of editorial consistency that may confuse readers. On page 72, for example, we learn that a particular Neanderthal burial is "remarkable" for its evidence of ritual behavior, while only two pages earlier another author has dismissed the evidence for ritual as the remains of a hyena meal. This book will suffice for public libraries in need of an attractive basic source on human evolution, but for collections that require something more thorough, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution ( LJ 6/1/93) is a much better book. The four volumes remaining in this set-- The People of the Stone Age , Old World Civilizations , New World Civilizations , and Traditional Peoples Today --will be released throughout 1994.--Ed.
- Eric Hinsdale, Trinity Univ. Lib., San Antonio
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

This transfixing book--the first of a spectacular five-volume history of anthropological archaeology to be published during 1994, the collective product of a hundred scientists--guides the curious from Olduvai Gorge to the cave art at Lascaux to the brink of humanity's invention of agriculture. It summarizes the discoveries unearthed since the Leakey family's heyday and how fragmentary fossils are being dated and interpreted in new and ever more coherent, but still controversial, patterns. It features the outstanding illustrations and clear writing that will typify the series, and treats such open questions as how speech originated and whether hominid species continuously evolved or outright replaced one another (as with the mysterious disappearance of the Neanderthals) with so much clarity that the reader becomes interested in an almost personal way. "The philosophy undergirding this project is to preserve the flavor of science in action" writes David Thomas, of the American Museum of Natural History, which sponsors the series. For all public libraries, this first installment suggests a series that is a truly magnificent opportunity, the kind presented once every decade or so. Gilbert Taylor

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