NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “Exciting and provocative . . . A tour de force of a book that begs to be seen as well as to be read.”—The Washington Post Book World
World renowned scientist Carl Sagan and acclaimed author Ann Druyan have written a Roots for the human species, a lucid and riveting account of how humans got to be the way we are. Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a thrilling saga that starts with the origin of the Earth. It shows with humor and drama that many of our key traits—self-awareness, technology, family ties, submission to authority, hatred for those a little different from ourselves, reason, and ethics—are rooted in the deep past, and illuminated by our kinship with other animals.
Sagan and Druyan conduct a breathtaking journey through space and time, zeroing in on critical turning points in evolutionary history, and tracing the origins of sex, altruism, violence, rape, and dominance. Their book culminates in a stunningly original examination of the connection between primate and human traits. Astonishing in its scope, brilliant in its insights, and an absolutely compelling read, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a triumph of popular science.
In a leisurely, lyrical meditation on the roughly four-million-year span since life dawned on Earth, Sagan and Druyan ( Comet ) argue that territoriality, xenophobia, ethnocentrism, occasional outbreeding and a preference for small, semi-isolated groups are elements in a survival strategy common to many species, including Homo sapiens. Yet society's problems, they assert, increasingly demand global solutions and require a dramatic, strategic shift which the authors optimistically believe humankind is capable of achieving. This engaging, humane odyssey offers a stunning refutation of the behavioristic worldview with its mechanistic notion that animals (except for humans) lack conscious awareness. Writing with awe and a command of their material, the husband-wife team cover well-trod terrain while they discuss the evolution of Earth's atmosphere and life forms, the genetic code, the advantages of sexual reproduction. The last third of the book, dealing with chimpanzees, baboons and apes, is the most interesting. Sagan and Druyan find chimps' social life ``hauntingly familiar'' with its hierarchy, combat, suppression of females and chimps' remarkable ability to communicate through symbols. First serial to Parade.
I read it twice. Beautiful.
This book will fundamentally change the way in which you view the world and your interactions with other people. It identifies and describes why we feel the way we do, allowing its readers to better understand the motives behind the actions of others.
The best book available on evolution.
A Must Read!
I just got through watching "Cosmos" & decided to GOOGLE any other books besides that & "Contact" he had written.
I came across *this*, downloaded the sample, got hooked, bought the entire thing & immediately went through it.
About Carl -- and his lovely & likeminded wife Ann -- I can only say this: he's on a stamp for a reason ....