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Tamed

Ten Species That Changed Our World
Narrated by: Alice Roberts
Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (262 ratings)

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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Tamed, written and read by Alice Roberts. 

The extraordinary story of the species that became our allies. 

For hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors depended on wild plants and animals for survival. They were hunter-gatherers, consummate foraging experts, taking the world as they found it. Then a revolution occurred - our ancestors' interaction with other species changed. They began to tame them. The human population boomed; civilisation began. 

In Tamed, Alice Roberts uncovers the deep history of 10 familiar species with incredible wild pasts: dogs, apples and wheat; cattle, potatoes and chickens; rice, maize and horses - and, finally, humans. 

She reveals how becoming part of our world changed these animals and plants and shows how they became our allies, essential to the survival and success of our own species. 

Enlightening, wide-ranging and endlessly fascinating, Tamed encompasses thousands of years of history and archaeology alongside cutting-edge genetics and anthropology. Yet it is also a deeply personal journey that changes how we see ourselves and the species on which we have left our mark. 

An Economist and Mail on Sunday Book of the Year 2017. 

©2018 Alice Roberts (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"A masterpiece of evocative scientific storytelling." (Brian Cox)
"The best popular book on broad-sweep history since Guns, Germs and Steel." (Peter Forbes)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Social history & science, some interesting tidbits

Would you listen to Tamed again? Why?

Possibly I would return to particular chapters that I specifically found most interesting (more the animal chapters).

What does Alice Roberts bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Enthusiasm in her delivery, I would say. Though don't most readers?!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, too much to take in, I wanted to pause between each chapter and species.

Any additional comments?

Ten chapters of social history and science - interesting tidbits in there

3.5 stars

This came out last year, but I hadn't heard of it until I saw the Audible version advertised. It sounded like the sort of easy listen that I would enjoy and hopefully learn from, having enjoyed Roberts' television programmes.

It turned out to be a mixed bag. Absolutely fascinating on one hand, but rather long-winded on the other as a listen. The dates and delving do feel quite cumbersome when you are listening, it's hard to hold all the facts in your head as new ones constantly bombard you. But that would be easier on paper, I feel.

I did learn various interesting facts, and just considering how our species has tamed and cleverly used these animals and plants was mind-expanding. From potatoes and rice to dogs and chickens, I found it one of those non-fiction titles that I would quite have liked to see televised.

Alice Roberts herself narrates, which is no bad thing. I knew from her voice and style on TV that she'd be a narrator I would have no trouble listening to, and she was both personable and kept her clear voice light and full of enthusiasm for her subject.

Personally, I think this would be easier to follow and refer back to on paper/as an e-book, but I still picked up a lot of information from the audio version.

With thanks to Nudge Books for the sample Audible copy, provided for an honest review.

8 people found this helpful

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Fascinating, detailed, credible

Brilliantky and engagingly read by Prof, Roberts, this book is a significantb step forward in our understanding of the animals that homo sapiens have tamed for our own use and pleasure.

6 people found this helpful

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superb

Fantastically researched and written piece of work.
Wonderfully constructed and engaging narrative.
*biased review because I am ever so slightly besotted with Alice Robert's.

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating, I really enjoyed it.

The hard science is explained well making it easy to understand. Without being condescending as some science books can be.

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Great book, charming performance

I find that this book was very dense with information, in the best way possible! While it took a few rounds of listening to absorb all the new data contained within, the performance was very nice and soothing. Definitely well researched and written otherwise. Warmly recommend!

1 person found this helpful

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Fascinating and well read.

An amazing detailed story narrated by the author. Alice Roberts has a easy to listen to voice and the content is extensive, well researched and fascinating. This was a compelling series of stories that I have not only learnt from but thoroughly enjoyed.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it.

Never wanted this book to end, amazing detail and new understanding on life the earth and everything.

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How man tamed the natural world

A fascinating story of the taming by man of various animals and plants, showing how this has advanced human’s capabilities and also tamed the human race itself to a certain extent.
Endlessly varied & interesting.
Having just finished the book I feel I could go right back & start it again from the beginning there is such a wealth of information within.
Alice Roberts narrates the story in her own inimitable style: calm and yet enthusiastic.
Highly recommended.

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Alright

The narration is done very well and the topic of the book has a lot of potential. My favorite chapters were about wheat, apples and chickens. I enjoyed reading about how wheat got to Europe, how apple trees are spread naturally and how the modern chicken came to be. I learned about stuff I normally wouldn't have thought about. I even found the plant chapters mostly more interesting than the animals, I really didn't expect that.

The long length of the chapters felt unnecessary. Sometimes it was too complicated, fictional, anecdotal, detailed or opinionated. I don't need to know about how you rode a horse or a fake unrealistic story about how something might have happened before you say that nobody knows. 

My least favorite chapter was about humans because personally I found no new or surprising information. Before reading I hoped a chapter would be about cats. I would have loved to learn where my little buddy originated from, but unfortunately there is none. 

Overall a fine book with interesting gems, yet it felt like a drag and very dry to me. 

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Fascinating book

Alice voice is hypnotic, absorbing every chapter, a must for anyone who appreciates our past.

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  • David Anderson
  • 29-10-18

informative description of domestication

this book takes advantage of very recent genetic evidence outlining the domestication of 10 different species. the genetics were presented largely as conclusions. but did identify the still present uncertainties and controversies, i.e. it does not present the actual arguments but more of a 30000 ft overview. it was well worth the time, I did not fast forward through any part. the chapter on horse domestication was among the most interesting.

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  • Trebla
  • 12-07-18

Learned a lot, yet disappointed in the end

Ms Robert does a fascinating job putting together info from various disciplines to tell a story of origins and development. While using ,say, dogs , she illustrates many new and old science techniques to weave a story that is both interesting and instructive. She is a Science Communicator, and she does that well.
The down-side/ interesting aspect is her (to American ears) very British accent which sometimes distracts or confuses. She was talking about "tubers" but it sounded exactly like "cheevers"
The major flaw was in her otherwise nice melding of science and storytelling was in the end segments where she lets her own "gut" keep from delving into the science and actual experience of GMOs. Similarly, she makes a grand case for environmental stewardship yet voices hope for "the organic movement" despite pointing out one paragraph before that organic farming is less efficient (true) and that nearly all farmable land is already under cultivation (also true).

1 person found this helpful

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  • Keith
  • 15-11-18

Please leave out the sermons.

An otherwise great book is sullied by the author's prejudice. She gets very preachy about GMOs and is obviously biased against any research done by a private firm. Her own bias illustrates that academics are hardly without self-interest. The last hour of the recording is not worth the time. Also, her British pronunciations of many of the words is very distracting.

1 person found this helpful