• Origins

  • How Earth's History Shaped Human History
  • By: Lewis Dartnell
  • Narrated by: John Sackville
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (389 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times best-selling author explains how the physical world shaped the history of our species

When we talk about human history, we often focus on great leaders, population forces, and decisive wars. But how has the earth itself determined our destiny? Our planet wobbles, driving changes in climate that forced the transition from nomadism to farming. Mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece. Atmospheric circulation patterns later on shaped the progression of global exploration, colonization, and trade. Even today, voting behavior in the southeast United States ultimately follows the underlying pattern of 75 million-year-old sediments from an ancient sea. Everywhere is the deep imprint of the planetary on the human.

From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins reveals the breathtaking impact of the earth beneath our feet on the shape of our human civilizations.

©2019 Lewis Dartnell (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Dartnell's story is beautifully written and organized. His infectious curiosity and enthusiasm tug the reader from page to page, synthesizing geology, oceanography, meteorology, geography, palaeontology, archaeology and political history in a manner that recalls Jared Diamond's classic 1997 book Guns, Germs, and Steel." (Nature)

"The perfect blend of science and history. This is a book that will not only challenge our preconceptions about the past, but should make us think very carefully about humanity's future. Five stars." [Mail on Sunday (UK)]

"An original and timely way of looking at human history through the materials and natural resources that our species has employed to such effect. It should be read by everyone who ponders how long exploitation can continue on a finite planet." (Richard Fortey, author of Earth)

What listeners say about Origins

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

GREAT Book with a Narrator Who's Falling Asleep

This book is magnificent. It fully embraces many interesting subjects, such as deep time, archaeology, and human evolution.

However, authors and publishers, please, please, PLEASE listen to me:

STOP HIRING NARRATORS WHO WHISPER!!

Seriously, stop it.

This narrator reads entirely in a whisper, and while that may play well for a children's bedtime story or perhaps adult erotica, it has no place whatsoever in a book about science! Science is already an inherently dull subject at times, so the last thing anyone wants is to have a science book read to them by a person who's whispering the entire time. This really, truly is not that complicated. But, since it keeps happening, I'll spell it out for you:

For science books, HIRE ENGAGING, FUN, TALENTED NARRATORS.



38 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

An integrative view of (mostly european) societies

Engaging account of how nature has shaped human evolution and its history. Not only does it focus on current phenomena (for example, winds and sea currents), but also on past geologic events, such as the formation of coal in the carboniferous. The book, however, is very eurocentric. It does mention Asia, but mostly in relation to Europe's interests. Barely any mention is given of the civilizations in pre-columbian America or the "Global South" in general.

12 people found this helpful

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Awesome book that deserves better voice

Loved the book! It is an excellent review of the natural history of our planet, and of the development of the human civilization, with comprehensive review of the geology of the planet. Perhaps the best idea in the book is the suggestion of how cognitive abilities were selected in humans.
The author is a young, vibrant person, and this book deserves a voice that conveys that energy, instead the voice of the reader is old, monotonous and boring. It sounds like an old boring uncle and at times my attention drifted and I had to come back and listen again. Please make an effort to pick a voice that can bring some of the personality of the author! It makes a huge difference! Thanks!

11 people found this helpful

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the earth made us

In this professionally read and recorded expertly accessible telling of Earth's history, understand how continental drift, ice ages, sea & air currents, eons of plankton & tree growth and conversion to oil and coal as well as geological formation allowed Homo sapiens to thrive and dominate the current interglacial period. also, hear how geological deposits are underlying modern political rifts. while you learn how and when the continents arrived at their current locations, hear how & why the conditions existed to power the Anthropocene with fossil fuels.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Earth history's impact on the modern world

I enjoyed this story of how the earth's geological past impacts how we live today. Interesting, fast-paced, and geared to the interested amateur, I could easily follow the narration. The reader was excellent. Recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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loved it

everything about this is excellent. Facebook at some redundancy 2 a history of life but has many other parts of information that makes it fascinating.

3 people found this helpful

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We are more connected than we realize!

This book explains where we came from, what we are and all of the different dimensions of the inter-relationships of all organisms on earth. Dartnell does a fantastic job explaining all of this, with detailed geological, biological and social explanations for how we got to now, including the present climate crisis. Would love to see this tied into a forward looking analysis of where we go from here.

2 people found this helpful

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  • OO
  • 10-02-19

Compelling

The compelling story of how the physical development of the Earth shaped human civilization’s growth and spread. Fascinating!

2 people found this helpful

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Geology The Traction To Civilization

Fascinating tale of how geology is the traction to civilization. A little less redundancy in the telling perhaps?

2 people found this helpful

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Good Perspective

This book puts a good perspective on where we are now, where we came from, and and how the Earth and it's climate have shaped Humans from billions of years before their existence.

2 people found this helpful