Books  Ecological & Biological Sciences  Environmental Science  Climate & Climate Change 

The Gilgamesh Gene

By: Robin Russell-Jones(Author)

300 pages, colour illustrations


Hardback | Sep 2017 | #235282 | ISBN-13: 9780856835148
Availability: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £24.99 $32/€28 approx

About this book

What was it that initially separated us from other primates?
What was different about Homo sapiens 30,000 years ago that predicated our survival and the demise of our closest rivals, the Neanderthals?
Why are we obsessed with the notion that GDP is the only possible measure of progress?
If we are able to predict our own demise, why can we not do anything to stop it?

The Gilgamesh Gene is about the human condition, and in particular how it is that mankind has brought itself, along with most other species on earth, to the brink of extinction. Ultimately it is a question about human psychology. The author relies on the ancient Epic of Gilgamesh to draw a moral to inform the debate about climate change.

The epic is the oldest narrative in existence: it tells the story of a vainglorious king, Gilgamesh, who ruled the city of Uruk in Sumer about 2750 BC. He wished to leave a lasting memory of his feats by building great palaces out of cedar wood, killing the mythical guardian of the cedar forests so that he could "stamp his fame on the minds of men forever". Dr Russell-Jones compares the different versions of the legend and traces their influence through Bronze Age civilisations to traditions that still dominate human thinking and world affairs today.

The Gilgamesh Gene incorporates the key scientific data that underlies the science of global warming, the decline of coral reefs, and the extreme vulnerability of ecosystems everywhere to global changes in the atmosphere and the oceans. His book is a warning that humanity's demise is imminent, unless precautions are taken.


- Prologue
- The Epic of Gilgamesh
- Origins of Mankind and How We Thnik
- The Sixth Extinction
- Are We Tipokians or Are We Easter Islanders?
- Gilgamesh and Death
- Trade and Religion in Ancient Sumer
- One God or Many?
- China
- A Culture in Reverse
- Horses and Cars
- Does Wales Hold the Key?
- Gilgamesh and the Serpent
- Epilogue
- Appendices

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Dr Robin Russell-Jones has produced films and co-edited several seminal works on the environment, including Lead versus Health with Sir Michael Rutter FRS, Radiation and Health with Sir Richard Southwood FRS, and Ozone Depletion: Health and Environmental Consequences with Professor Tom Wigley. He chairs an educational charity, Help Rescue the Planet, which is dedicated to minimising air pollution and mitigating climate change.

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