6 books like Deep History

By Andrew Shryock, Daniel Lord Smail,

Here are 6 books that Deep History fans have personally recommended if you like Deep History. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide

Judith Harris Author Of Pompeii Awakened: A Story of Rediscovery

From my list on the joys of life in classical antiquity.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a freelance journalist in Italy, I covered, for Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and others, tough topics: terrorism, the Mafia, the heroin traffic which passed via Sicilian laboratories to the U.S. At a certain point I found this overly negative. After taking a course in Rome on archaeology, by chance I was asked to direct a BBC half-hour documentary on Pompeii. In so doing, I realized that it was  time to focus upon the many positive elements of Italian life and history. From that life-changing documentary came this book on Pompeii, on which I worked for five rewarding years. My next book was on historical Venice.

Judith's book list on the joys of life in classical antiquity

Judith Harris Why did Judith love this book?

The late Amanda Claridge, a professor at the University of London, introduces us to the ancient city in the book she co-authored: Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide, now on offer as Rome, An archaeological guide. Over time, archaeology itself changes, and today's critics say that her presentation of up-to-date archaeology in Rome equally entrances both tourists and her fellow scholars. She taught at both Oxford and the University of London, as well as at Princeton University in the U.S. 

By Amanda Claridge,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The city of Rome is the largest archaeological site in the world, capital and showcase of the Roman Empire and the centre of Christian Europe.

This guide provides:

* Coverage of all the important sites in the city from 800 BC to AD 600 and the start of the early middle ages, drawing on the latest discoveries and the best of recent scholarship

* Over 220 high-quality maps, site plans, diagrams and photographs

* Sites divided into fourteen main areas, with star ratings to help you plan and prioritize your visit:
Roman Forum; Upper Via Sacra; Palatine; Imperial Forums; Campus…


Book cover of Cities: The First 6,000 Years

Greg Woolf Author Of The Life and Death of Ancient Cities: A Natural History

From my list on ancient cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I learned to dig as a teenager in the school holidays and studied the ancient world at Oxford and Cambridge before beginning my career as a university teacher. I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world for my work, and have spent time living in some amazing cities including Paris, London, Madrid, and Rome. I love exploring new urban landscapes from Moscow to Lusaka, Såo Paulo to Toronto and I am looking forward this summer to moving to another great metropolis, Los Angeles.

Greg's book list on ancient cities

Greg Woolf Why did Greg love this book?

An exciting overview of one of THE big themes of world history, an anthropological essay that draws on urban traditions from five continents. It is really good on the materiality of cities, everything from how they were built and where they get their food to what happens to their garbage. A great balance too between the huge variety of cities and what we today can learn from early urbanism.

By Monica L. Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A revelation of the drive and creative flux of the metropolis over time."--Nature

A sweeping history of cities through the millennia--from Mesopotamia to Manhattan--and how they have propelled Homo sapiens to dominance.

Six thousand years ago, there were no cities on the planet. Today, more than half of the world's population lives in urban areas, and that number is growing. Weaving together archeology, history, and contemporary observations, Monica Smith explains the rise of the first urban developments and their connection to our own. She takes readers on a journey through the ancient world of Tell Brak in modern-day Syria; Teotihuacan…


Book cover of The Ancient City

Greg Woolf Author Of The Life and Death of Ancient Cities: A Natural History

From my list on ancient cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I learned to dig as a teenager in the school holidays and studied the ancient world at Oxford and Cambridge before beginning my career as a university teacher. I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world for my work, and have spent time living in some amazing cities including Paris, London, Madrid, and Rome. I love exploring new urban landscapes from Moscow to Lusaka, Såo Paulo to Toronto and I am looking forward this summer to moving to another great metropolis, Los Angeles.

Greg's book list on ancient cities

Greg Woolf Why did Greg love this book?

Historians of Greece and Rome have been arguing about how to describe ancient cities on and off since the eighteenth century and some of their debates have got stuck deep in the mud. This little book offers the best way out of these impasses. It is super clear, really up to date and incorporates the very latest research. Especially good on economy and society.

By Arjan Zuiderhoek,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ancient City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Greece and Rome were quintessentially urban societies. Ancient culture, politics and society arose and developed in the context of the polis and the civitas. In modern scholarship, the ancient city has been the subject of intense debates due to the strong association in Western thought between urbanism, capitalism and modernity. In this book, Arjan Zuiderhoek provides a survey of the main issues at stake in these debates, as well as a sketch of the chief characteristics of Greek and Roman cities. He argues that the ancient Greco-Roman city was indeed a highly specific form of urbanism, but that this does…


Book cover of Invisible Cities

Michael Batty Author Of The Computable City: Histories, Technologies, Stories, Predictions

From my list on cities that are not what they seem.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are as many ways of thinking about cities as there are people who live in them, and by the end of this century, it is clear we will all be living in cities of one size or another. Cities are in effect the crucibles where all technological and cultural change takes place. They are the drivers of prosperity while also the harbingers of chaos, decline, and war. What makes them fascinating is that as soon as we begin to peel back the layers that compose the city, our understanding of them begins to change: they metamorphose into different conceptions where there is no agreement as to what they are or what they might become.

Michael's book list on cities that are not what they seem

Michael Batty Why did Michael love this book?

Imagining different cities from different viewpoints in history is the focus of Calvino’s wonderful set of vignettes between Marco Polo from his 13th-century travelogue and Kublai Kahn as they explore different ways they see cities that lie along the Silk Road. Weaving fact into fiction, they point up the essential logic of how cities are formed and how they evolve. What we remember, how we perceive these memories, and the size and shape of cities are all ideas which is the canvas on which Calvino describes the many cities of our imagination.

This is a wonderful set of stories–you can dip into them and read them if you are on the subway or waiting in the dentist's surgery or anywhere where you get a free moment. The stories are memorable.

By Italo Calvino,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Invisible Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A subtle and beautiful meditation' Sunday Times

In Invisible Cities Marco Polo conjures up cities of magical times for his host, the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan, but gradually it becomes clear that he is actually describing one city: Venice. As Gore Vidal wrote 'Of all tasks, describing the contents of a book is the most difficult and in the case of a marvellous invention like Invisible Cities, perfectly irrelevant.'


Book cover of Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It

Michael C. Corballis Author Of Adventures of a Psychologist: Reflections on What Made Up the Mind

From my list on the mind (how it works and where it came from).

Why am I passionate about this?

Michael Corballis is a psychologist and brain scientist. His interests lie in how the mind works, how it maps onto the brain, and how it evolved. Much of his work is published in books and scientific articles, but he has also written books aimed at a general readership. These include Pieces of Mind, The Lopsided Ape, The Recursive Mind, The Wandering Mind, and The Truth about Language.

Michael's book list on the mind (how it works and where it came from)

Michael C. Corballis Why did Michael love this book?

Much of what we do and think comes from imagination, generated by our minds rather than by the physical world. This includes art, literature, music, religion, even science. Our dreams are spontaneous acts of creativity, and even memory itself can be distorted by the restless mind.  Fernandez-Armesto argues that many animals have better memories than we do, because the human system produces spontaneously creative thoughts at the expense of fidelity. That’s why memories are often false. The author is a historian with an interest in how the mind works, and his book is an amazingly comprehensive history of the human imagination.

By Felipe Fernández-Armesto,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out of Our Minds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To imagine-to see what is not there-is the startling ability that has fueled human development and innovation through the centuries. As a species we stand alone in our remarkable capacity to refashion the world after the picture in our minds.

Traversing the realms of science, politics, religion, culture, philosophy and history, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto reveals the thrilling and disquieting tales of our imaginative leaps-from the first Homo sapiens to the present day. Through groundbreaking insights in cognitive science, Fernandez-Armesto explores how and why we have ideas in the first place, providing a tantalizing glimpse into who we are and what we…


Book cover of Thinking Big: How the Evolution of Social Life Shaped the Human Mind

Paul Pettitt Author Of Homo Sapiens Rediscovered: The Scientific Revolution Rewriting Our Origins

From my list on understanding the evolution of the human mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

I went to university wanting to become a Roman specialist, but ended up going backwards in time until I landed with a bump on the hard flints of the Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age). I research aspects of the behaviour of the Pleistocene (Ice Age) indigenous Europeans – the Neanderthals – and the origins and evolution of our own species, Homo sapiens. I undertake fieldwork across Europe, and I’m particularly interested in the origins and early development of art – both on portable objects and cave walls – and the long-term evolution of our treatment of the dead. My scientific love is how we can try to get inside the mind of our most remote ancestors.

Paul's book list on understanding the evolution of the human mind

Paul Pettitt Why did Paul love this book?

Us humans are social animals par excellence, although if we scratch the surface there are evolutionary explanations for the simplest of things: why we laugh, dance, and gossip, and why humans across the world tend to have similar numbers of close friends and more distant relationships.

In Thinking Big two Palaeolithic archaeologists and an evolutionary anthropologist combine to present an explanation for how our behaviour evolved to cope with the increasing intellectual demands of growing group sizes, from small groups more characteristic of the apes to the huge, international networks that characterise the modern world.

The importance of what could be seen as the superficial things we do such as holding hands becomes breathtaking in the hands of three inspirational thinkers.

By Clive Gamble, John Gowlett, Robin Dunbar

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thinking Big as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When and how did the brains of our hominin ancestors become human minds? When and why did our capacity for language or art, music and dance evolve? It is the contention of this pathbreaking and provocative book that it was the need for early humans to live in ever-larger social groups, and to maintain social relations over ever-greater distances - the ability to `think big' - that drove the enlargement of the human brain and the development of the human mind. This `social brain hypothesis', put forward by evolutionary psychologists such as Robin Dunbar, one of the authors of this…


3 book lists we think you will like!

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