Review of 'Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind'

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

sapiens.jpg In this epic book, Harari takes the reader through a complete history of humanity then into speculation of our future. The book is divided into sections outlining the various revolutions that have made us who we are:

  • The Cognitive Revolution where we began to think and understand the world around us;
  • The Agricultural Revolution where we stopped being nomads and settled down to grow our own food, laying the foundations for our great civilisations;
  • The Unification of Mankind where we became more and more connected to other civilisations, and;
  • The Scientific Revolution where we are now and threaten to challenge the very definition of humanity itself.

The book is utterly readable with the subject explained in an easy to follow manner, making a good deal of sense. It tackles a number of thorny subjects including things like race and religion in an objective yet quite compassionate way. His statements and thesis are presented with examples laced with historical and scientific context. In this work Harari manages to see through the illusions we have made reality to the real truth of our history, making obvious what may have previously been overlooked.

Though a large book at 466 pages plus a number of pages of footnotes (and an index) it is easy enough to read for a bit, put down and come back to without becoming hopelessly lost. Though filled with detail it does not feel that it is being forced upon you but more that it is just used to illustrate basic facts of our history. Be under no illusions, though a history it is probably unlike any history book you have ever read. Don't expect to come away with an understanding of British or even American history though what you can expect is to come away with an appreciation of the general path humanity has followed through the ages.

Though Sapiens is tinged with sadness at some of the failures of mankind there is also hope for what we might become. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in answering quite fundamental questions about humanity.

Rating:

Review Date: 2020-05-23


Genre: Non-Fiction

Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: 2011

ISBN: 9780099590088