One hundred thousand years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Why did our foraging ancestors create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws? What if humanity’s major woes–war, plague, famine and inequality–originated 12,000 years ago, when Homo sapiens converted from nomads to settlers, in pursuit of the fantasy of productivity and efficiency? What if by seeking to control plants and animals, humans ended up being controlled by kings, priests, and Kafkaesque bureaucracy?
In these illustrated adaptations of his bestselling book, the author tells the story of humankind’s creation and evolution, exploring the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human”.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind had been on my TBR for the longest time but I was hesitant to pick it up thinking I might not be able to get through it. I changed my mind when the second volume of the graphic version was published and I’m glad I read these because now I can’t wait to read more.
Volume One follows our biological evolution while Volume Two tracks our socio-psychological evolution. In both books the author narrates a story to his niece, Zoe, and is assisted by multiple characters such as Prof. Saraswati, Cindy and Bill (now farmers), Detective Lopez, and Dr. Fiction, who help move it along and open it up for discussion.
The books are in graphic novel format drawn in full color with vibrant illustrations. As you read along you tend to notice the little details in each panel that shed light on our evolutionary history.
The books are perfect for people like me who aren’t keen to delve into the scientific aspects or are intimidated by the length. The graphic versions determinedly stay away from being overly technical; rather presenting it in an entertaining way and adding humour to keep you engaged. Most importantly, this fabulous study in anthropology can be read and enjoyed by children as well as adults.
Sapiens A Graphic History, Volume 1: The Birth of Humankind (Published 2020)
Sapiens A Graphic History, Volume 2: The Pillars of Civilization (Published 2021)
By Yuval Noah Harari. Co-written by David Vandermeulen and illustrated by David Casanave. Published by Jonathan Cape, an imprint of Vintage, part of Penguin Random House UK.
Book 43 & 44 of 2022.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.
Sapiens A Graphic History, Volume 2: The Pillars of Civilization
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