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Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life Paperback – May 8 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (May 8 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1610391055
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610391054
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 14.5 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #410,695 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Kirkus Reivew, April 15, 2011

"An appealing account of human evolution and the fiercely competitive anthropologists who are unearthing our ancestors’ remains and arguing over what they mean…. The author does a superb job of describing the nuts-and-bolts of field research, the meaning of the often headline-producing findings and the ever-changing variety of species who split off from the common ancestors of chimpanzees and hominids.”


About the Author

Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer, and historian who has written extensively on Africa and its recent history. He is the author of many books including The Fate of Africa and Diamonds, Gold, and War. He lives near Oxford, England.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By Mary F on March 1 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like to keep up with the latest developments in human evolution. Sometimes its hard to understand the sequence and relationships among the different forms. This book made it much simpler to create a mental picture of the progression.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Looking for a great book on human origins? July 15 2011
By Bill Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Look no further!

I read this twice through on vacation. It's a great read, and up-to-date, having just been released. I had been looking for something that explained all the finds and what they meant in the big picture of human origins. This book does that, and it also gives an interesting history of the finds from the first discovery of Australopithecus right up to Turkana Boy. As an added bonus it gives a wonderful short summary of the migration paths of the human family out of Africa.

Loved it!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Paleoanthropology at its best May 18 2013
By Hans U. Weber - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A beautifully written and thoroughly researched chronicle of the field work and analyses of the fossil remains of the earliest human-like beings dating back millions of years. The scientists and field workers often suffered incredibly harsh conditions. At first their finds were ignored or criticized by their peers. The characters and their squabbles and sometimes bitter disagreements are vividly described. I rank this book in the class of Nicholas Wade's masterpiece, Before the Dawn (2006) which focuses on the origins of our species and our past contemporaries. Imagine that about 18,000 years ago our planet was inhabited by four or more species of Homo (hominins). All except H sapiens have become extinct.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Origins and the escapades of those who established them. Feb. 12 2014
By Daniel Kingsley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book's first half is a entertaining series of portrait sketches of the paleontologists who discovered the fossil evidence of our past. The second half of the book completes the partial family tree of human evolution the first half creates, by filling in the missing pieces of the fossil record with genetic evidence. Not a very technical book but well written, easy to read, and informative.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Quest for sure June 16 2013
By Kindle Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
His narrative stitches together various archaeological finds in ways that is understandable to the average person, explaining their significance and any related theories of human origins related in the discovery. The story he tells is fascinating and lays a foundation for understanding the DNA research in that has paralleled archaeological discoveries.

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Man is still determined to survive some of the competitions and pitfalls that brought Original Man out of Africa and into today. May 7 2015
By Susan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since I enjoy archeology and the anthropological tales of Man, this was an informative and fairly interesting book. It can be a bit dry for some, since it's a relentless recounting of facts, dates and artifacts. But lovers of human history may find new information that they heretofore did not know.

What the author does that's interesting with the facts is that he weaves the human elements of courage, competition, failure, misunderstanding, miscalculations and distrust into the 19th and 20th century scientists' rush to find and lay personal claim to the origins of Man. In most cases, old traditions about who and where we came from had to be broken and replaced with more solid evidence of the development of we homo sapiens.

As modern technologies, travel and excavation methods came of age, more and more contestants, all vying for fame and fortune in the middens and bone pits of mankind, began to emerge and conflict. Many a man's or woman's scientific reputation was challenged and sometimes destroyed, when the old guard of anthropological investigation refused to accept the realities of new discoveries and their meaning to old questions and answers about our human origins.

As the process of change took place in the modern archeological and anthorpological worlds, so did the rush to find more substantial evidence and solid theories of our human origins. The book describes the age old, human drive to find one's fame and fortune, in the name of science. Old ideas were crushed, as were some livelihoods and reputations. One could compare the modern scientists' competitions to the Ancients' competition, in their own battles of survival and populating the entire world.

Having lived in E. Africa; having roamed around in the ancient shadows of Mankind there, and having seen the Leakey's, original Oldapai Gorge "footprints", I was fascinated by some of the tales of this book. True, it got dry and pedantic in some parts, but it sought to bring to light, the history of Man and those who still strive to unlock the mystery of humankind's origins.


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