The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?

The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?

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Most of us take for granted the features of our modern society, from air travel and telecommunications to literacy and obesity. Yet for nearly all of its six million years of existence, human society had none of these things. While the gulf that divides us from our primitive ancestors may seem unbridgeably wide, we can glimpse much of our former lifestyle in those largely traditional societies still or recently in existence. Societies like those of the New Guinea… (more)

Editorial reviews (2 reviews)


This book reminds you how important geography is, but it also unwittingly reminds you how important history and culture are, and how certain core conceptions — our notions of individual agency, our assumptions about time and space, our moral intuitions about killing and individual dignity — have been shaped by our civilizations.

Leaving aside the weak arguments and the dreary exposition, there are periodic nuggets of fascinating research that do tell us more about who we are and why we came to be this way. But they are too few and too far between.

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Book Details  


Publisher: Penguin (December 31, 2012)

Format: EPUB

Page count: 512 pages

File size: 9.1 MB

Protection: DRM

Language: English


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