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

Popular Science

By: Jared Diamond(Author)

531 pages, 16 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations, 16 plates with 19 b/w photos

Allen Lane

Paperback | Sep 2013 | #207970 | ISBN-13: 9780141024486
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £10.99 $14 / €13 approx
Hardback | Dec 2012 | #203507 | ISBN-13: 9780713998986
Out of Print Details

About this book

The World Until Yesterday is a visionary new account of humanity's past from Jared Diamond, author of the international bestsellers Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel, which has sold over 1 million copies and won the Pulitzer Prize. In The World Until Yesterday, Diamond reveals how tribal societies offer an extraordinary window into how our ancestors lived for millions of years – until virtually yesterday, in evolutionary terms – and provide unique, often overlooked insights into human nature. In his most personal book to date, Jared Diamond writes about his experiences over nearly five decades working and living in New Guinea, an island that is home to one thousand of the world's 7000 languages and one of the most culturally diverse places on earth.

Drawing on his own fieldwork, as well as evidence from Inuit, Amazonian Indians and other cultures, Diamond explores how tribal peoples approach essential human problems, from childrearing to old age to conflict resolution to health. He unearths remarkable findings – from the reasons why modern afflictions like diabetes, obesity and hypertension are largely non-existent in tribal societies, to the surprising cognitive benefits of multilingualism. As Diamond reminds us, the West achieved global dominance due to specific environmental and technological advantages, but Westerners do not necessarily have superior ideas about how to live well.

"A master storyteller of the human race"
- Daily Mail

"The world has been waiting for this book"
- Times Higher Education

"'Fascinating, thought-provoking, a broad sweep through all humanity [...] it left me riveted"
- Daily Telegraph

"One of the most interesting and arresting writers of our age [...] The vast scope of his analysis, coupled with a lifetime's worth of personal insights, makes it fiercely persuasive"
- Mail on Sunday

"The most considered, courageous and sensitive teller of the human story writing today [...] Essential reading"
- Independent on Sunday

"One of the few people who have changed the way we see human nature and our history"
- Independent

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Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at UCLA. Among his many awards are the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, Japan's Cosmos Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as Poet, presented by The Rockefeller University. His previous books include Why Is Sex Fun?, The Third Chimpanzee, Collapse, and Guns, Germs and Steel, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

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