On Deep History and the Brain

Smail, Daniel Lord

Published by University of California Press
ISBN 10: 0520904362 / ISBN 13: 9780520904361
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Synopsis: This is a little book about 50,000 years of human history that finally connects modern history, and medieval history, and ancient history, and what's still called prehistory . Offering a fascinating digest of the significant scientific discoveries of recent years, Harvard History Professor Daniel Lord Smail presents a new paradigm for understanding changes in human culture, commerce, hierarchy, and civilization throughout time. First he debunks all the ways in which historians have justified continuing writing about 6,000 years of history by talking about writing, civilization, or historical consciousness. Then he guides the reader accessibly through an enormous literature on recent, 'hot' work on evolution, Paleolithic studies, and neuroscience--and shows how this can change our view of history, human life, and historical writing. Lastly he shows how history of all peoples at all times can be understood through psychotropy (humans using substances or actions to alter their own brain-body states). Through fascinating stories that range from religious ritual to coffee drinking, medieval knights to nineteenth-century gin, Smail finally brings the latest developments in the humanities and sciences together to put an entirely new, holistic cast on our understanding of ourselves.

From the Inside Flap: "This is surely a new paradigm for the study of history that will be regarded as revolutionary but which is also well justified. To my knowledge, no other book integrates the study of human history with principles of biological and cultural evolution on such an ambitious scale."—David Sloan Wilson, author of Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion and the Nature of Society

"This is one of the most exciting books I've read in years. It is so accessible, so groundbreaking, so stimulating, so important that I imagine the next generation of historians will be deeply influenced by what Smail has to say here. Simply dazzling."—Lynn Hunt, author of Inventing Human Rights

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Title: On Deep History and the Brain
Publisher: University of California Press

Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Very Good

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SMAIL Daniel Lord
Published by Univ Of California Press Caravan Book Large Print edn, 2008 (2008)
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