A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes

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Author: Adam Rutherford. “A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Human Story Retold Through Our Genes”.

National Book Critics Circle Award—2017 Nonfiction Finalist Nothing less than a tour de force—a heady amalgam of science, history, a little bit of anthropology and plenty of nuanced, captivating storytelling.”—The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice

A National Geographic Best Book of 2017

In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species—births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex.

But those stories have always been locked away—until now.

Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story—from 100,000 years ago to the present.

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived will upend your thinking on Neanderthals, evolution, royalty, race, and even redheads. (For example, we now know that at least four human species once roamed the earth.) Plus, here is the remarkable, controversial story of how our genes made their way to the Americas—one that’s still being written, as ever more of us have our DNA sequenced.

Rutherford closes with “A Short Introduction to the Future of Humankind,” filled with provocative questions that we’re on the cusp of answering: Are we still in the grasp of natural selection? Are we evolving for better or worse? And . . . where do we go from here?

Amazon.com Review An Amazon Best Book of October 2017: Our obsession with where we come from has recently leapfrogged past the genealogy efforts of retired relatives to mail-in DNA tests that can provide the broad strokes of our genetic makeup for less than $100. But, as Rutherford points out in his intriguing exploration of humankind, DNA tests offer only a sensationalized peek at our roots, and the tangled, still-evolving truth is far more fascinating. Armed with his disarming British wit, Rutherford delves into the migration, interbreeding and isolation, and extinction of hominid branches that has shaped the modern human. Holes in our fossil record and the lack of DNA in fossils we’ve actually found still make genome research a challenge, yet the more we learn, the more we have to change our perception of who Homo sapiens are and what we’re made of. Challenging the simplistic thinking bolstered by the media, Rutherford adds both nuance and the thrill of excitement to viewing our species through a wider, stronger lens that can now see deep into our past. —Adrian Liang, The Amazon Book Review

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What DNA test?