The Dawn of Everything

By David Graeber, David Wengrow,

Book cover of The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity

Book description

Coming soon!

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. (learn more)

Why read it?

4 authors picked The Dawn of Everything as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book has quickly become a bestseller and instant classic. Quite remarkable for such a hefty tome. As the title suggests, it is a new history of humankind; and when the authors say new, they mean new. Drawing on a wide range of material from anthropology and archaeology, Graeber and Wengrow set out to turn our long-held ideas about human history on their head. The traditional narrative of a neat step-by-step linear history is called into serious question. The alternative interpretations of the historical record are fascinating. Not every reader will be convinced by it all, some won’t be convinced…

From Brett's list on humankind’s place in history.

A really deep history of civilizations, which calls into question some of the entrenched ideas we hold about the rise of the state. While other authors have questioned whether states have been good for humankind, Graeber and Wengrow ask whether they were even inevitable. A readable account, based on fascinating archaeological discoveries and peppered with anthropological insights, it reveals how ancient people experimented with different forms of social organisation. Often, they came together in immense groups and networks for ritual and trade, without being tempted to form anything like a state. It makes us think again about human society and…

From Fernanda's list on making us rethink global history.

The brilliant late anthropologist David Graeber and archaeologist David Wengrow teamed up to write this 700-page romp through 30,000 years of human history. They tear down oppressive theories of 'savagery' and 'civilization' that have weighed down not only archaeology, but the political imagination since the Enlightenment. Finally, someone has described what I myself have seen in the archaeological record—a remarkable collection of pranksters and improvisers who make history, but not exactly as they please. But also not according to any external evolutionary drive. The future looks brighter when we realize that human history is anything but linear or predictable. 

Were the original humans warlike or peaceful, lazy or industrious, egalitarian or hierarchical, monogamous or promiscuous? This ambitious book uses archaeology and historical records to make a powerful case that humans have lived in diverse ways throughout prehistory. They argue that the overthrowing of traditional ways in the European enlightenment was inspired by the age of exploration and encounters with Native Americans and other indigenous people. Through them, Europeans learned about alternative ways to organize societies – where, for example, following leaders was optional. Europeans, even as they denigrated those they encountered, also recognized that there were better ways for…

From Faye's list on the deep history of the universe.

Want books like The Dawn of Everything?

Our community of 6,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like The Dawn of Everything.

Browse books like The Dawn of Everything

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in archaeology, anthropology, and the Age of Enlightenment?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about archaeology, anthropology, and the Age of Enlightenment.

Archaeology Explore 85 books about archaeology
Anthropology Explore 61 books about anthropology
The Age Of Enlightenment Explore 88 books about the Age of Enlightenment