The World Until Yesterday

The World Until Yesterday

What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies?

Audiobook CD - 2012
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Most of us take for granted the features of our modern society, from air travel and telecommunications to literacy and obesity. Yet for nearly all of its six million years of existence, human society had none of these things. While the gulf that divides us from our primitive ancestors may seem unbridgeably wide, we can glimpse much of our former lifestyle in those largely traditional societies still or recently in existence. Societies like those of the New Guinea Highlanders remind us that it was only yesterday--in evolutionary time--when everything changed and that we moderns still possess bodies and social practices often better adapted to traditional than to modern conditions.

The World Until Yesterday provides a mesmerizing firsthand picture of the human past as it had been for millions of years--a past that has mostly vanished--and considers what the differences between that past and our present mean for our lives today.
This is Jared Diamond's most personal book to date, as he draws extensively from his decades of field work in the Pacific islands, as well as evidence from Inuit, Amazonian Indians, Kalahari San people, and others. Diamond doesn't romanticize traditional societies--after all, we are shocked by some of their practices--but he finds that their solutions to universal human problems such as child rearing, elder care, dispute resolution, risk, and physical fitness have much to teach us. A characteristically provocative, enlightening, and entertaining book, The World Until Yesterday will be essential and delightful reading.

Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Penguin Audio, p2012.
ISBN: 9781611761474
Branch Call Number: 305.89912
Characteristics: 16 sound discs (1140 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
Additional Contributors: Green, Dan 1971-


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ECPat Jan 10, 2016

Lots of interesting facts and stories are wonderful, but the comparisons and insights are even more worthwhile!

Sep 22, 2015

I strongly recommend this audiobook to anyone interested in human cultures. The content is fascinating; while some commenters here have complained of its length, I maintained a keen interest throughout. The narration is very good: articulate and confident. He does not get all the foreign words quite right and some of his pronunciations of language names are slightly wrong, but these are only very pedantic complaints and should not deter even the pickiest of listeners. If there is room for improvement in the narration, it is that the narrator is too young for the content: his voice suggests early 30s, but the author is in his late 70s. The result is somewhat comical when he uses the first person and references events that would have occurred long before the narrator's birth. Still, this is a top-notch audiobook in terms of production quality and intellectual content.

Feb 05, 2014

Way too long-winded. I listened to the audio book and couldn't wait for it to end. This book is nowhere as good as Collapse or Guns, Germs and Steel.

skidrick Jul 26, 2013

A few interesting nuggets, but Diamond could have used a copyeditor to about halve the size of the work. He loves his topic...a bit too much


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