The most recommended ice age books

Who picked these books? Meet our 15 experts.

15 authors created a book list connected to ice age, and here are their favorite ice age books.
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Book cover of Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art

Nicholas Agar Author Of Dialogues on Human Enhancement

From my list on how technology could change humanity.

Who am I?

I’m a New Zealand philosopher who’s written a lot about the human enhancement debate. Philosophers are well known for their willingness to defend unpopular conclusions against all critics. Sometimes they engage in what I call “philosophical shit-stirring". You may think that’s a profanity but it’s actually a technical term. I’ve advocated some deliberately unpopular shit-stirring conclusions in the past. One of these is liberal eugenics - the idea that you can turn an evil like eugenics into something good by prefacing it with the feel-good term “liberal”. These dialogues are the beginning of a philosophical stock-take on what we should or might become.

Nicholas' book list on how technology could change humanity

Nicholas Agar Why did Nicholas love this book?

There’s a lot of thoughtless talk by techno-optimistic philosophers about futures in which we all get to become superintelligent and live for thousands of years if we can apply the right tech to ourselves.

Sykes describes fascinating research on the Neanderthals, beings who were almost, but not quite, us. Reading her book, I wondered what it might have been like to grow up as the child of a union between a Homo sapiens and a Neanderthal. I found this especially useful when we consider future relationships between people determined to remain human and others who want tech to make them posthuman ASAP.

There’s so much information to gleen from Sykes to help us guess at how posthumans might treat beings whom they view as different and possibly inferior.

By Rebecca Wragg Sykes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

** WINNER OF THE PEN HESSELL-TILTMAN PRIZE 2021 ** 'Beautiful, evocative, authoritative.' Professor Brian Cox 'Important reading not just for anyone interested in these ancient cousins of ours, but also for anyone interested in humanity.' Yuval Noah Harari Kindred is the definitive guide to the Neanderthals. Since their discovery more than 160 years ago, Neanderthals have metamorphosed from the losers of the human family tree to A-list hominins. Rebecca Wragg Sykes uses her experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research to share our new understanding of Neanderthals, shoving aside cliches of rag-clad brutes in an icy wasteland. She reveals them…


Book cover of Dawn Land

Jean Louise Author Of Waking Fire

From my list on transporting you to another time and place.

Who am I?

I believe worldbuilding is as important as realistic dialogue, engaging characters, and a well-paced plot. Worldbuilding is a key component of stories that take place in a contemporary high school, in the court of Henry VIII, or in some far-off land that only exists in the author’s imagination. I worldbuild in layers: 1. What happens in the characters’ daily lives; 2. Environment: religion, culture, social hierarchies, setting; and 3. Relevant historical events/figures/details. Worlds should be so well thought out that there’s no room for the reader to be distracted or confused. When the worldbuilding is good, you’ll be so engrossed that the only distraction you’ll have is wondering what happens next.

Jean's book list on transporting you to another time and place

Jean Louise Why did Jean love this book?

If you’ve ever wondered what life was like for the people living in the Americas after the last ice age, then read this book. Through the eyes of Young Hunter, we explore what we now call New England thousands of years before the first Europeans crossed the Atlantic. And through Young Hunter, we learn to use weapons, how to survive in the wild, Native American folktales and names, and we learn why Young Hunter’s people fear beings called the Ancient Ones. All of these worldbuilding layers are revealed as Young Hunter embarks on a dangerous journey tracking the creatures that attacked his people, with each layer drawing you in until you are as fearful of the Ancient Ones as Young Hunter and just as determined to face them.

By Joseph Bruchac,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book


Book cover of Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings: Evidence of Advanced Civilization in the Ice Age

Robert Soper Author Of From Whence We Came – The Biblical Age of World Enlightenment

From my list on the hi-tech world of our distant ancestors.

Who am I?

I began life as an apprentice motor engineer before starting my own business. Before I married, I used my holidays to visit some of the great historical sites of the Middle East, including, of course, Egypt. That first look at the pyramids, both inside and out, set me on a lifetime study of them and other sites across Europe. Relying on the physical work of others I was able to put down on paper my thoughts on a much earlier civilization that seems to have come from nowhere, erected incredible monuments, and then simply vanished. Now, I still have a very keen interest in it all and slowly I'm amassing enough material for another book.

Robert's book list on the hi-tech world of our distant ancestors

Robert Soper Why did Robert love this book?

Hapgood was a lecturer who used the bright young minds of some of his graduate students to make a detailed study of a pre-Columbian map drawn in 1513 by a Turkish Admiral by the name of Pirie Re’is. Rei’is had drawn his map using source maps made by Alexander the Great and even earlier peoples. It is of the Atlantic showing the Americas correctly drawn and placed. There is an ice-free Antarctica where the correct outline of the coast of Queen Maude land is less than 7 miles out of place. Hapgood’s similar analysis of other maps shows that there had been a global civilization on this planet sometime in the past.

By Charles Hapgood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Some scholars have long claimed that a world civilization existed thousands of years ago - long before Egypt. They have even claimed that this lost civilization was almost as advanced as ours today.

In this book, Professor Charles H. Hapgood has produced the first concrete evidence of the existence of such a civilization. He has found the evidence in many beautiful maps long known to scholars, the so-called Portolano charts of the Middle Ages, and in other maps until now thought to have originated around the time of Columbus. Working with his students over a period of seven years, Hapgood…


Book cover of The History of Magic: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the Present

Anne Lawrence-Mathers Author Of The True History of Merlin the Magician

From my list on Merlin and magic.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by magic and its history since I was at school. One of my first Saturday jobs was as a shelf stacker in Portsmouth Central Library, and I was delighted to discover that the library had a special collection on the occult and magic. I spent as much time dipping into the books as I did shelving them! That interest was sharpened by holiday visits to places with links to magical people and events in the past – and I am very grateful for the patience of my family. I now research and teach medieval magic at Reading University and enjoy discussing spells and instruction manuals on various types of magic.  

Anne's book list on Merlin and magic

Anne Lawrence-Mathers Why did Anne love this book?

I am awed by the ambition of this book, which really does cover everything suggested by the title. 

The author is a Professor of Archaeology at Oxford and as his bio says he also worked as a curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum there, so his expertise is clear. 

He writes with a very broad sweep, and his arguments that key elements of magic can be traced across wide spans of time and space might be controversial – but this book is a huge and fascinating treasure trove of information. 

For anyone who wants to know about the history of magic I think this is a great place to start. 

By Chris Gosden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Telegraph Book of the Year

A remarkable, unprecedented account of the role of magic in cultures both ancient and modern -- from the first known horoscope to the power of tattoos.

'Fascinating, original, excellent' Simon Sebag Montefiore
______________________

Three great strands of practice and belief run through human history: science, religion and magic. But magic - the idea that we have a connection with the universe - has developed a bad reputation.

It has been with us for millennia - from the curses and charms of ancient Greek, Roman and Jewish magic, to the shamanistic traditions of Eurasia, indigenous…


Book cover of The Story of Life: A First Book about Evolution

Ben Fox

From Ben's 6-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Entrepreneur Super reader Long distance biker Traveler Pirate captain

Ben's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Ben's 6-year-old's favorite books.

Ben Fox Why did Ben's 6-year-old love this book?

My son loves this book because of the pictures. They are funny and do a great job illustrating the story of life on Earth and how it evolved. 

My son also wants me to mention that he appreciates the specific examples it gives as he feels it does an excellent job of teaching evolution (which is a very precocious thing to say). To his credit, he can explain evolution to me, which I don't think I could do at his age. 

By Catherine Barr, Steve Williams, Amy Husband (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Story of Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This wonderful book introduces children to the story of life and how it all began. Using bitesize text and beautifully bright illustrations this is the perfect book for budding scientists and those eager to learn more about our amazing planet.

Are you ready for an exciting and dramatic story about how life began and developed on Planet Earth? Packed full of fascinating facts and funny illustrations, this is the perfect introduction to life on earth for even the youngest of readers.

At first, nothing lived on Earth. It was a noisy, hot, scary place. Choking gas exploded from volcanoes and…


Book cover of The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples

Alan Smale Author Of Clash of Eagles

From my list on ancient North America.

Who am I?

My twin passions are science and history, and I try to have it both ways by writing a mix of alternate history and hard SF. I grew up in Yorkshire, England, enjoyed lots of family vacations at Hadrian’s Wall and other Roman-rich areas, and acquired degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from Oxford, but I’ve lived in the US for over half my life and now work for NASA (studying black holes, neutron stars, and other bizarre celestial objects). My novella of a Roman invasion of ancient America, A Clash of Eagles, won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History and formed the starting point for my Clash of Eagles trilogy from Del Rey, and Hot Moon, my alternate-Apollo thriller set entirely on and around the Moon, will be published by CAEZIK SF & Fantasy in 2022.

Alan's book list on ancient North America

Alan Smale Why did Alan love this book?

Finally, expanding outward even further in space and time and going far beyond my Clash of Eagles series source material, Tim Flannery’s book covers the entire geological, ecological, and (yes) human history of the North American continent, from its formative years 65 million years ago through to its “discovery” by Europeans, and the effects those colonizing influences had on the peoples, flora, and fauna. I learned so much from this book that I still think about it almost daily, and especially so when I travel around today’s US in all its depth, breadth, and glory.

By Tim Flannery,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Eternal Frontier, world-renowned scientist and historian Tim Flannery tells the unforgettable story of the geological and biological evolution of the North American continent, from the time of the asteroid strike that ended the age of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, to the present day. Flannery describes the development of North America's deciduous forests and other flora, and tracks the immigration and emigration of various animals to and from Europe, Asia, and South America, showing how plant and animal species have either adapted or become extinct. The story takes in the massive changes wrought by the ice ages and…


Book cover of Winter World

Michael Krozer Author Of Looking Through Mirrors

From my list on action oriented books that make you think.

Who am I?

I write in the speculative fiction genre where an overwhelming event, seemingly beyond the control of the main characters, underpins what happens to those characters. Exploring scenarios about how society would change as a result of cyber controlled multiple personality overlays, for example, is a great opportunity for considered thought. I believe that a mind without a question is dead. As a writer, I imbue my characters with this philosophy and then set them free to navigate the vast plane of destiny for themselves.

Michael's book list on action oriented books that make you think

Michael Krozer Why did Michael love this book?

Many heroic characters are not flashy. This is the way I like to cast them in my novels. The principal characters in this fast-moving SiFi novel are that way. The story is revealed using a first-person approach, each chapter being in the voice of a particular character. I like the breezy nature of the dialog that allows emotional depth to gradually make an impact without getting bogged down in psychoanalysis. While the earth is frosting over with a new ice age and civilization grinds towards an uncertain future, national alliances are forming with the associated grasping and competition for limited resources. A genius scientist is tasked to find an answer and the author rightly avoids a deep dive, instead taking broad leaps across technological chasms. However, this novel gets you thinking about what you might do under similar circumstances.

By A.G. Riddle,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Winter World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Apocalyptic sci-fi at its best... The action is anything but frozen' DAILY MAIL.

WITHIN THREE MONTHS, ICE WILL COVER THE EARTH, AND LIFE AS WE KNOW IT WILL END.

It was the last thing we expected, but the world is freezing. A new ice age has dawned and humanity has been forced to confront its own extinction. Billions have fled the glaciers, crowding out the world's last habitable zones. They can run from the ice, but they can't escape human nature: a cataclysmic war is coming.

In orbit, a group of scientists is running the Winter Experiments, a last-ditch attempt…


Book cover of Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture

Paulette F.C. Steeves Author Of The Indigenous Paleolithic of the Western Hemisphere

From my list on archaeology and the peopling of the Americas.

Who am I?

As an Indigenous person, I have a lived experience of the negative impacts of an erased history on all people. Students I teach are shocked to hear that Indigenous people have been in the Americas for over 60,000 years. The violence against archaeologists publishing on older than Clovis sites in the Americas is intense; that got me asking why? I sought the truth about the evidence for Pleistocene age archaeology sites in the Americas. Global human migrations attest to the fact that humans have been migrating great distances for over 2 million years. Reclaiming and rewriting Indigenous history is one path of many, leading to healing and reconciliation. 

Paulette's book list on archaeology and the peopling of the Americas

Paulette F.C. Steeves Why did Paulette love this book?

Dennis Stanford one of the Clovis first police, changed his mind about the Clovis first hypothesis after carrying out excavations along the mid-Atlantic coast of North America. This book provides an informed view of pre-Clovis sites, paleo climates, and the possibilities for human migrations between the eastern and western hemispheres via the Atlantic. Evidence for human migrations between the eastern hemisphere known today as Southern France and the Western Hemisphere known today as the Americas during the Pleistocene are supported through rigorous research and possible linkages between stone tools known as Solutrean technologies found in both areas.

By Dennis J. Stanford, Bruce A. Bradley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Who were the first humans to inhabit North America? According to the now familiar story, mammal hunters entered the continent some 12,000 years ago via a land bridge that spanned the Bering Sea. Distinctive stone tools belonging to the Clovis culture established the presence of these early New World people. But are the Clovis tools Asian in origin? Drawing from original archaeological analysis, paleoclimatic research, and genetic studies, noted archaeologists Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley challenge the old narrative and, in the process, counter traditional - and often subjective - approaches to archaeological testing for historical relatedness. The…


Book cover of The Valley of Horses

Rebecca Branch Author Of The Summer of '71: A Romance of Youth in Timeless Rome

From my list on adventure, love, lust, and life’s lessons through time.

Who am I?

I am all the characters in this and every book I have written. I grew up in Rome, teach Roman art and architectural history, and am a practicing architect. My books are suffused with the things I love, from culture to cuisine, pace of life, love of consort, affection for children and animals, to the adventures I have been so fortunate to enjoy through my fifties. Reading has been a big part of my education. I have many interests and loves to share. These five book recommendations are but the tip of the iceberg. I became an author so I could write what remains unwritten and read the stories I wish to tell.

Rebecca's book list on adventure, love, lust, and life’s lessons through time

Rebecca Branch Why did Rebecca love this book?

I love the main character, the strongest woman in literature, who, in late Paleolithic times, literally invents the modern world. She is strong but thinks herself weak. She is beautiful but thinks herself ugly. She circumvents and overcomes every instance of adversity thrown her way. I want to be her, and the book permits me to wear her shoes.

I have been highly influenced by Jean Auel’s storytelling, especially the graphic scenes of Ayla’s loss of innocence, growth into sexuality, and descriptions of lust, love, and completion.

This book is not erotica, yet the love scenes are the best I’ve ever read and are a roadmap to create tension and heat in my writing. With her influence, my audience laughs, cries, and cheers their way through my books.

By Jean M. Auel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Valley of Horses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This unforgettable odyssey into the distant past carries us back to the awesome mysteries of the exotic, primeval world of The Clan of the Cave Bear, and to Ayla, now grown into a beautiful and courageous young woman.

Cruelly cast out by the new leader of the ancient Clan that adopted her as a child, Ayla leaves those she loves behind and travels alone through a stark, open land filled with dangerous animals but few people, searching for the Others, tall and fair like herself. The short summer gives her little time to look, and when she finds a sheltered…


Book cover of Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia

Patrick Nunn Author Of Worlds in Shadow: Submerged Lands in Science, Memory and Myth

From my list on submerged lands.

Who am I?

Growing up in post-WWII Europe, young people’s anxiety was often channelled into searching for ‘lost worlds’, places hope could be nurtured and ancient solutions revived. So I encountered Atlantis and Lemuria and other imagined places but also learned, from training as a geologist, that once-populated lands had actually been submerged. Myths and legends often contain grains of observational truth at their heart. The more ‘submergence stories’ I research, from Australia through India and across northwest Europe, the more I realize how much we have forgotten about undersea human pasts. And how our navigation of the future could be improved by understanding them.

Patrick's book list on submerged lands

Patrick Nunn Why did Patrick love this book?

In the late 1990s when this book was published, it seems no scientist had ever given serious thought to the consequences for human evolution of the submergence of Sundaland in the aftermath of the last ice age. There is compelling scientific evidence, compiled and analyzed here in compendious detail, that Sundaland was a heartland of human innovation and that its drowning may have led to the spread of rice agriculture, pottery making, and even tales of lands being ‘fished up’ (as by the Pacific demigod Maui). An astonishing read that today I still regard as largely credible.  

By Stephen Oppenheimer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eden in the East as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the end of the Ice Age, Southeast Asia formed a continent twice the size of India. The South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand and the Java Sea, which were all dry, formed the connecting parts of the continent. Geologically, this half-sunken continent is the Sunda shelf of Sundaland. In Eden in the East Stephen Oppenheimer puts forward the astonishing argument that here in Southeast Asia was the cradle of civilisation that fertilised the great cultures of China, India, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Crete six thousand years ago. He produces evidence from ethnography, archaeology, oceanography, from Creation stories, myths and…