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The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease Paperback – Jul 1 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 1 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030774180X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307741806
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

“Monumental . . . an epic voyage that reveals how the past six million years shaped every part of us—our heads, limbs, and even our metabolism. . . . Through Lieberman’s eyes, evolutionary history not only comes alive, it becomes the means to understand, and ultimately influence, our body’s future.”
—Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish
 
“Fascinating. . . . A readable introduction to the whole field and great on the making of our physicality.”
Nature
 
“Sweeping. . . . Convincingly makes the case for a wholesale rethinking of how we live our modern lives.’”
CommonHealth, WBUR
 
“Riveting, enlightening, and more than a little frightening. . . . No one understands the human body like Daniel Lieberman or tells its story more eloquently.”
—Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run

“These are not debates to gloss over or reduce to simple statements of cause and effect—they are stories with scientific complexity and tremendous, sometimes contradictory accumulations of evidence and detail. The Story of the Human Body does full justice to those stories, to that evidence and to that detail, and brings them to bear on daily health and well-being, individual and collective.”
The Washington Post

“[Lieberman] is a true expert in a system where architecture and history intersect: the human foot. He ably describes how behavior and anatomy can lead to foot injuries in long-distance runners.”
The Wall Street Journal

“The ultimate science-based Paleo investigation. . . . Convincing. . . . A great read, and I recommend it highly for those of you who are interested in learning the facts about our biological roots, and how we can rationally apply ‘Paleo’ concepts to prevent and reverse modern ‘mismatch’ diseases.”
—Dr. Ronald Hoffman, The Hoffman Center/Health Talk

“Eloquent and precise . . . Lieberman is the first to point out that modern living and technology have made our lives better in many ways. Still, a look back at where we came from can tell us a lot about where we’re headed, he says—and how we might alter that course for the better.”
Grist

“A doozy. . . . That humans are poorly adapted to our modern lifestyle of convenience foods, flat screens, and desk jobs isn’t very controversial. But how we best cope with this new reality often is. Lieberman takes on many popular notions, including barefoot running, the paleo diet, epigenetics, and a host of hot topics ranging from obesity and chronic disease to Nanny State politics.”
Outside

“[Lieberman’s] evolutionary approach produces some counterintuitive surprises. . . . The Story of the Human Body is a reliable guide to a problem that is going to get worse before it gets better.”
The Guardian

“In thoroughly enjoyable and edifying prose, Lieberman . . . leads a fascinating journey through human evolution. He comprehensively explains how evolutionary forces have shaped the human species as we know it. . . . He balances a historical perspective with a contemporary one . . . while asking how we might control the destiny of our species. He argues persuasively that ‘cultural evolution is now the dominant force of evolutionary change acting on the human body.’”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Lieberman gracefully combines paleontology, anatomy, physiology, and experimental biomechanics to clarify how the human body has evolved and how evolutionary design now clashes with the particularities of modern society. . . . An important book.”
Library Journal

“Lieberman holds nothing back. . . . He cleverly and comprehensively points out the perils of possessing Paleolithic anatomy and physiology in a modern world and bemoans ‘just how out of touch we have become with our bodies.’. . . If we want to continue our phenomenal run as a species, it is essential to understand (and embrace) our evolutionary legacy.”
Booklist

“A massive review of where we came from and what ails us now . . . Would that industry and governments take heed.”
—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Daniel E. Lieberman is professor of human evolutionary biology and the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences at Harvard. He has written more than one hundred articles, many appearing in the journals Nature and Science. Lieberman is especially well known for his research on the evolution of the human head and the evolution of running, including barefoot running (earning him the nickname the Barefoot Professor). His research and discoveries have been highlighted widely in newspapers, magazines, books, news programs, and documentaries.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lieberman sets out to describe the evolution of the human body and how our evolutionary history has prepared us (or not) for healthy living in our modern environments. The first part of the book deals with our evolution from distant ape ancestors to humans. It's a good, up-to-date account of human evolutionary history (although it doesn't include the most recent fossil findings from Georgia). It paints a strong picture of how our bodies changed and evolved, what different hominid species were adapted for, and why some went extinct. It's certainly not the most thorough introduction to the topic, but it definitely gets the job done as a general introduction or a refresher.

The second part of the book deals with the agricultural revolution and its consequences for our bodies. At first, it was largely a good thing. But as time went on and agriculture became more intensive people's health suffered, as witnessed by their bones. We are not very well adapted to a farming lifestyle, although evolution has occurred to steer us towards that direction amongst long-time farming populations. The ability for adults to digest lactose, resistance to agricultural plague diseases, and a great tolerance of insulin are some examples. In this way, the book is rather reminiscent of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution. The idea that human evolution didn't stop in the paleolithic is a view that I'm very sympathetic towards so it was a very interesting section to read.

Yet it's the final part of the book that has perhaps the greatest punch. Lieberman discusses how we are living in a health paradox.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lieberman's book starts with a well-balanced, documented evolutionary history of the the human body. Importantly,he also high-lights the huge impact of human culture,starting with the advent of agriculture 10-15000 years ago. The results of this impact were predictable, and now are self-evident --- the mushrooming of what he calls "mismatch diseases" in modern industrialized societies. Our hunter-gatherer bodies are not matched to the type of food we produce and consume today. An essential book for everyone, but especially for medical practitioners.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved the book. I would recommend to anyone interested in human evolution. Also, an interesting view point on today's common illness.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Everyone should read this book to understand where we came from and how our bodies evolved. With this knowledge we can understand why our bodies react to certain things that happen to us in modern times.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book on the human body details our past very well with lots of insightful information. Read it of you would like to understand about your own and others people's bodies.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Best book I have read in a long time. Highly recommended! Explains a lot of ways to get around the unhealthy society we have today.
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