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By Anthony on 07-14-10
not for the intellectually challenged
Renfrew covers many topics and references the important people in the field of archaeology. I only wish Audible would feature more books of this caliber. I am very frustrated that so few books are available on this topic. The content of this book is dense and I have listened to it several times. I was so delighted to see a serious non-fiction book offered on Audible and I don't agree with the other reviewers that this book was unsuitable for audio. Apparently the other listeners were expecting lite fare such as the Idiot's Guide to Archaeology or some pop fluff a la Graham Hancock. If you seriously interested in an overview of the field, this book is for you.
37 of 39 people found this review helpful
By S. Wells on 11-10-10
NOT romantic historical fiction
This is a well researched and well buttressed discussion of what a respected specialist in his field sees as current fact in the field of human past, before the advent of what we commonly refer to as "history" (written records). He spends some considerable effort documenting how we have come to know what we do, that is, the scientific basis for what we believe we know. To compare this work to many others on the same subject, for example Wade's "Dawn of Human History", makes the latter seem like an oversimplified introduction to the subject for an adolescent. The latter is a an entertaining listen, but it stimulates more questions than it provides answers, as it jumps from seemingly scientific premises to fanciful conclusions that are clearly based on modern biases or wishful thinking. Renfrew's work suffers from the expected occasional "dryness" any scholarly work can have for the nonspecialist. But for the enthusiast who wants to know more, without having to do the original research myself, the work of listening is worth it. I am a physician, not an archeologist; but if I can discover a bit about what and who we humans are, and how came to be us, maybe I can help my patients with some of the vast weight of medical problems that plague us today; most of which are 'lifestyle" diseases (with an underlayment of genetic predisposition). The seeds of these medical problems seem to have been sown in our distant past; and maybe some of the answers will come from the study. More power to any specialist in any field who tries to elucidate the science for the rest of us who are hungry for knowledge.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful