'A sweeping, brilliant overview of the history not only of our species but of the world ... Dartnell has a rare talent in being able to see the big picture – and explaining why it matters' PETER FRANKOPAN, author of The Silk Roads
When we talk about human history, we focus on great leaders, mass migration and decisive wars. But how has the Earth itself determined our destiny? How has our planet made us?
As a species we are shaped by our environment. Geological forces drove our evolution in East Africa; mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece; and today voting behaviour in the United States follows the bed of an ancient sea. The human story is the story of these forces, from plate tectonics and climate change, to atmospheric circulation and ocean currents.
How are the Himalayas linked to the orbit of the Earth, and to the formation of the British Isles? By taking us billions of years into our planet’s past, Professor Lewis Dartnell tells us the ultimate origin story. When we reach the point where history becomes science we see a vast web of connections that underwrites our modern world and helps us face the challenges of the future.
From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins reveals the Earth’s awesome impact on the shape of human civilizations.
"A sweeping, brilliant overview of the history not only of our species but of the world. Whether discussing the formation of continents or the role that climate (and climate change) has had on human migration, Lewis Dartnell has a rare talent in being able to see the big picture – and explaining why it matters." (Peter Frankopan, author of THE SILK ROADS)
"Origins by Lewis Dartnell stands comparison with Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens…A thrilling piece of Big History" (James McConnachie Sunday Times)
"‘Extraordinary… Origins is one of those rare books that dissolves mystery through the steady application of sublime lucidity. While reading it, I kept thinking: “Oh, that makes sense…” … Dartnell understands geology, geography, anthropology, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and history. That’s quite an achievement, but what makes him special is the way he communicates the interconnectedness of these disciplines in a clear, logical and entertaining way…Superb." (Gerard DeGroot The Times)
"Dartnell has found the perfect blend of science and history. This is a book that will not only challenge our preconceptions about the past, but should make us think very carefully about humanity’s future" (Simon Griffith Mail on Sunday)
"Dartnell’s story is beautifully written and organized. His infectious curiosity and enthusiasm tug the reader from page to page, synthesizing geology, oceanography, meteorology, geography, palaeontology, archaeology and political history in a manner that recalls Jared Diamond’s classic 1997 book Guns, Germs, and Steel" (Nature)