I finished this book in May, after I had spent over a year reading it. A year to finish something with less than 400 pages would make you believe that it wasn’t interesting.
This wasn’t the case. Just like the other books from Jared Diamond – read my reviews of Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel – I learned a lot of things about many topics and had a great time.
The topic of this masterpiece is simple : given the fact that we are less than two percent of our DNA away from our closest relatives, the bonobo and the chimpanzee, we must share a lot in common with them.
What is our animal heritage and how is it translating in our civilization ? What differentiates us from them, and what are the consequences ? Here are some random topics that are delved into :
Genocide and wars : given the many wars and genocides perpetrated by Mankind since the dawn of time, one wonders if this found in another species.
We are the only species known for writing, why, and how ?
Same as for language, as even if other animals communicate, our languages are very complex.
Environmental destruction. Man has destroyed its habitat to feed and shelter himself for millenia.
This book contains the topics of the two following masterpiece by Diamond.
Despite being a bit less interesting than the other two, I still strongly recommend you to read this one if you are interested in such topics.