9781862073685 / 1862073686

As We Know It: Coming to Terms with an Evolved Mind


Publisher:Granta UK



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About the book:

There is an assumption, often made but no truer for that, that the facts of evolutionary life are right-wing. One of the aims of this remarkable book on the development of intelligence among early humans is to knock that particular assumption on the head. For Kohn, one of the crucial facts about the evolution of humanity is that it took place among humans; genes are passed down individually, but we exist collectively. The two particular issues on which he concentrates--the making of flint hand axes, identical across a million years and three continents, and the formation of female coalitions through deceit or tact about fertility--are fascinating in themselves but best seen as examples of his overall theme. Those who know Kohn's work from his books on drug panics--Narcomaniaand Dope Girls--and his exemplary account of race, science and racism--The Race Gallery--or from his computer column in the Independent on Sunday will know his clarity of mind and expression. This is a book that says some new things and popularises some new ideas, but its precision of thought is its point and its chief merit. This is not only one of the best recent books on early humans--it is also the best-written. --Roz Kaveney

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