Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Length: 15 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (147 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

World renowned scientist Carl Sagan and acclaimed author Ann Druyan have written a Roots for the human species, a lucid and riveting account of how humans got to be the way we are. It shows with humor and drama that many of our key traits - self-awareness, technology, family ties, submission to authority, hatred for those a little different from ourselves, reason, and ethics - are rooted in the deep past, and illuminated by our kinship with other animals.

Astonishing in its scope, brilliant in its insights, and absolutely compelling, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a triumph of popular science.

©1992 Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan (P)2017 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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What listeners say about Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

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Excellent Production

I really miss Dr. Sagan. Thank you Ann and all involved in this production, for bringing these books to life. I read all of these when I was younger and my eyes were in better shape. Now that I have problems with vision but my hearing is still sharp, I am so grateful to be able to hear the words again.

8 people found this helpful

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Profoundly Enlightening

For the first time in my life, I experienced something I can only describe as Spiritual. I’ve long been a fan of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan’s works, but this book, especially with Nick Sagan’s spectacular and captivating performance, is something truly special.

4 people found this helpful

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A very important read, poor audio performance

Understanding the evolved underpinnings of our modern psychology, culture, and societal structure helps me see our failings with greater compassion, and the obstacles in our path with greater clarity. We are a species with a history and a future--a future to be defined with knowledge and wisdom, or haphazardly via vestigial tendencies however impractical they may be in a modern context.

As important as this work is, and I feel bad saying it, the reading by Sagan and Druyan's son is uninspired, and even monotonously weasly, tending to end statements in a whiny, pleading tone that undermines the authority of carefully considered words. Toward the end, I either got more used to it or he got better, but getting there was often a struggle.

Still, for the absolutely critically essential content that should be in every human's brain, the audio version is worth it. Though if you're able to read it instead, maybe better...

4 people found this helpful

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Chapter 15

No idea what is in chapter 15.
Audible plz Check chapter 15 if it belongs to this book

1 person found this helpful

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A brilliant work of anthropological review

It started off sufficiently diverse but ended with too much on the nuances of apes and how similar humans are. The message was clear, that humans aren't particularly different in the anthropological sense from animals and great apes. Nevertheless the story could have been better constructed to sell this point.

1 person found this helpful

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A masterpiece

Even in the 21st century, when we made a huge leap in molecular biology and pushed our knowledge much further than Carl Sagan would ever imagine, this book is still carries out the echoes of our conscience. The story offers thorough, provocative and humble journey from the early formation of the Earth to the times of our ancestors. Putting together the fascinating mosaic of our origins piece by piece, revealing how close we really are to non-human primates.

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Excelente bofetada al ego especista

El humano se piensa a sí mismo como un ser superior y totalmente desligado del entorno en que vive, la cantidad de pruebas presentadas en este libro debería ser suficiente para una persona racional replantee seriamente ese tipo de pensamiento.

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Interesting read, though it gets a bit repetitive.

The book explains how we're really upgraded apes, posing interesting questions about existence. In the middle, it goes into ape studies and continues on that for a while.

1 person found this helpful

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Everyone should read this book!

Carl Sagan is a champion of logic and reason! I admire Sagan's work and his ability to communicate science to the public. I can't thank Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan enough for their inspirational hard work. Nick Sagan did a superb job in the audio book, bravo! Everyone should read Shadows of our forgotten ancestors. There is alot we can learn about ourselves. It's time to get to work.

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great book

Carl Sagan one of the best. absolutely loved this book. Would definitely recommend it to all.

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Profile Image for Edward R Lyons
  • Edward R Lyons
  • 04-25-20

Conflicted

Carl Sagan is one of my heroes. Cosmos was foundational in building my understanding of the world, the universe, and the nature of reality. I have read many of his books, and regretted that I did not get a copy of this one when it was published. So I was pleased to find it as an audio book. It's only the second one I have ever bought, and only because it isn't available in Kindle.
So I'm conflicted in having to admit disappointment at this audio book. Not because of its content, but because of the presentation. Carl Sagan is long gone, so the magnificent eloquence of his speech is sadly missed. To my European ears, this audio book is so jarringly *American*. It's grating, for example, to hear a Scottish review of Darwin's Origin of Species spoken in such a nasal faux 19th century north east American accent. It lends the whole experience of listening to this book an air of falsity. Which I never thought I'd *ever* say of anything by or about Carl Sagan.
While I would not recommend against buying this audio book for yourself, I will persevere to get a second hand printed copy to experience Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors the way it was intended.

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  • Luke Thomson
  • 03-15-18

The story of how humans and our closest siblings

Wonderful tale of our ancestors and where we have come from. Some parts seem exceeding relevant to modern times. Excellent performance by Carl's own son. Truly perfect within the context of the nature of the book.