April 13, 2012

Review: "The Dawn of Human Culture: A bold new theory on what sparked the "big bang" of human culture" by Richard G. Klein and Blake Edgar

The Dawn of Human Culture can probably be fairly characterized as Professor Klein's 2002 synthesis and condensed version of his monumental textbook, The Human Career: Human Biological and Cultural Origins .  This book was clearly written for both the interested amateur as well as for anthropological professionals.  In my opinion, this book is really well-written, incredibly fascinating, and lavishly illustrated with numerous superb drawings by Kathryn Cruz-Uribe.

For me, the story of the genus Homo and of the individual species that ultimately leads to us--Homo sapiens--is nothing short of amazing, and Klein's book exhibits that same enthusiasm and wonder that I still feel.  Even though this survey of the paleoanthropological state-of-knowledge was published in 2002, it is really mostly still quite up-to-date and relevant.  I also very much appreciated Professor Klein's in-depth and even-handed portrayal and treatment of the various positions and opposing or even controversial hypotheses associated with our human origins.  When you're done with this book, and you want to find out more about your human origins, I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of the Third Edition of Professor Klein's The Human Career: Human Biological and Cultural Origins (University of Chicago Press, 3rd Ed., 2009).


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