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Origins

How the Earth Made Us
Narrated by: John Sackville
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (178 ratings)

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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Origins by Lewis Dartnell, read by John Sackville.

When we talk about human history, we focus on great leaders, mass migration and decisive wars. But how has the Earth itself determined our destiny? How has our planet made us?

As a species we are shaped by our environment. Geological forces drove our evolution in East Africa; mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece; and today voting behaviour in the United States follows the bed of an ancient sea. The human story is the story of these forces, from plate tectonics and climate change, to atmospheric circulation and ocean currents.

How are the Himalayas linked to the orbit of the Earth, and to the formation of the British Isles? By taking us billions of years into our planet’s past, Professor Lewis Dartnell tells us the ultimate origin story. When we reach the point where history becomes science we see a vast web of connections that underwrites our modern world and helps us face the challenges of the future.

From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins reveals the Earth’s awesome impact on the shape of human civilisations.

©2019 Lewis Dartnell (P)2019 Random House Audiobooks

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Anthropology meets geography. Fascinating.

A fascinating incite into the role the earths geography and geology has played in human development. Anthropology is a topic I really enjoy learning about and this book is probably one of my favourites on it. The author makes complex subjects easy to digest and shows the link between seemingly unrelated things very effectively by regularly referencing points made in previous chapters.
I also liked the narrators voice, which as any audiobook listener will know, is important!
Will certainly listen to this one again in the future.

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Original

Quite an excellent discussion of our origins and history on the planet and how that came about due to features of the Earth itself. Where Sapiens followed our cognitive development and how that made us who we are, Origins follows how geological aspects of the planet brought us towards the major shifts in our civilization.

Perfectly read.

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An origin history worth reading

Having read several origin or big history books this last year I can highly recommend this. Looking more closely at geography one can relate to each chapter well.

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fantastic

immensely interesting and thought provoking throughout
most enjoyed book for a long time
well read as well

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Best intro to Geology ever!

if I was a lecturer in geology I would use this as the text book

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Good

Tries hard to tie all human history into one story of geography. it has some interesting insights but ultimately it's too simplistic.

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This covers everything, puts things in perspective

Such breadth, doesn't dwell on anything for too long. Omits Gobekli Tepe though. Slow reader

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  • Adrian
  • 22-01-20

Great book; unfortunate choice of narrator

I like Dartnell’s way of looking at the world. He’s always investigating how even the most seemingly mundane aspects of everyday life can be traced back to momentous events in big history. This book looks at how geological processes have shaped human (pre-)history, with a focus on geopolitics and the distribution of natural resources.

Having read a fair bit about the subject already, I went into this book with some reservations, fully prepared to find little beyond the usual pop-sci earth science (the Toba bottleneck hypothesis, the origins of British coal and Californian oil, etc). As it turns out, the book went into greater detail and covered more unfamiliar ground than I had expected, giving me several new topics to explore further. It does feel a little unstructured at times, but not enough to make it a difficult or frustrating read.

The one thing I really found tedious was the narrator. His tone and volume are both so low, and his articulation so indistinct, that he ends up sounding like a hungover Benedict Cumberbatch with a pillow over his face. I couldn’t make out half of the words being said when trying to play it over my car stereo, Bluetooth speakers, or non-ANC headphones. Only with ANC earplugs could I hear every word being said.