Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors

4.6 9
by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan
     
 

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"Dazzling...A feast. Absorbing and elegantly written, it tells of theorigins of life on earth, describes its variety and charaacter, and culminates in a discussion of human nature and teh complex traces ofhumankind's evolutionary past...It is an amazing story masterfully told."
FINANCIAL TIMES (LONDON)
World renowned scientist Carl Sagan and acclaimed author Ann…  See more details below

Overview

"Dazzling...A feast. Absorbing and elegantly written, it tells of theorigins of life on earth, describes its variety and charaacter, and culminates in a discussion of human nature and teh complex traces ofhumankind's evolutionary past...It is an amazing story masterfully told."
FINANCIAL TIMES (LONDON)
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 an absolutely compelling read, SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS is a triumph of popular science.


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Editorial Reviews

Donna Seaman
The Sagan-Druyan household must be a lively place as they ponder the big questions: "What does it mean to be human?" "Can we improve our societies?" "Can we be trusted with our own futures?" To answer these consciousness-old queries, Sagan and Druyan decided to trace the roots of the "Homo sapiens" family tree down to life at its tiniest. Declaring that "all life is kin," they explain how we are related to everything from the nutrients percolating in the soils of our vital earth to chimpanzees. The visionary authors of the best-selling "Cosmos" have shifted their focus from the vastness of space to the minuteness of the molecular world, creating powerfully imagined and animated descriptions of what, in most texts, remain flat chemical interactions. The astonishing and formidable sequencing of DNA and the infinite subtlety of genetic language are expressively conveyed and linked to the invaluable diversity of Earth's life forms. As Sagan and Druyan move up the evolutionary ladder from microorganisms to more complex creatures including insects, snakes, fish, birds, and primates, they track the emergence of sexuality, survival tactics, instinct, and thinking, all sparked by the basic interplay between heredity and environment. This inquiring, eloquent writing duo will continue to feed their (and our) curiosity about the innumerable traits shared by our busy, bossy species and those we call animals, as well as give evidence for some form of ethics in biological reality, in a forthcoming volume chronicling human evolution.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307801036
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/06/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
174,316
File size:
2 MB

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Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
M_L_Gooch_SPHR More than 1 year ago
This is beyond doubt one of the best written science related books that I have read over the years. There are quite a few excellent science writers but none come close to this husband and wife team. While I don't personally believe in all of the theories contained therein, it is still a dazzling, fantastic ride through ancient history. The writers make you feel as if you could actually be standing beside the characters as they absorb you into their world. I read this tome several years ago and can actually say that I still to this day reflect on several of the comments and analysis made within the pages. In fact, the more time goes by, the more I begin to bend my philosophy to match the book.. They masterfully tell the story of human nature and whther it is through brute hypothesis or the elegant writing, it certainly gives us pause to reflect. The account is both riveting and fast paced. It probably reads at a much faster pace than the authors intended which is to their credit. Rarely do I encounter a book that I simply "can't put down". If you want a slant on the dramatic way we became to be who we are, this is an excellent place to start. You will learn why we hate those that are different from us, racism, family ties and why we have the pecking order we live with. The book is quite brilliant in its insights and conclusions. Again I must say I do not adhere to all of these beliefs but they make wonderful food for thought. If you have never read Sagan or Druyan, to me, that is a shame. Buy, borrow or steal this book. It is a illuminating ride. I hope you find my opinion helpful. Michael L. Gooch, Author of Wingtips with Spurs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to say I love Sagen, and I love human evolution. So this book was a no brainer for me to pick up. There were lots of interesting bits in the book, but I felt like I was slogging through the primordial muck to get to them. The informatiom on how the earth formed was great! And the theories of how life may have started were important to the story, but there was way more information on protiens, microbs, cells, etc than I really needed. I felt that there was a lot of repetition through out the book, but I stuck with it. Just when I thought I was finally to the intesting part, i.e. human evolution- IT ENDED! To be continued in another volumn? So if you want to know more about neanderthal, erectus, civilization, language developmemt - you aren't going to get it in this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the best posible way this book has made me open my eyes to our existence and our fragility. Everyone that has curiosity and natural childlike wonder will enjoy and prpobably gain from this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
i READ THIS BOOK YEARS AGO AND UPON FINISHING it I KNEW IMMEDIATELY THAT I WOULD READ IT ONCE AGAIN ! it IS MY HPOE THAT U2 WILL FIND it AS ENCHANTING AS i. Your Humble Servent, Timothy Carey Courtney
Guest More than 1 year ago
its a very interesting book for understanding life in all its forms. Has lot of information to substantiate the philosophy of life
Guest More than 1 year ago
OK, maybe that's a slight overreach but the point remains that this book is needed and is appreciated. From the scientific equivalent of 'Let there be light' to the present day, this book retraces our best estimations as to what our journey from nothingness toward humanity must have entailed. Through Sagan's unique talents at weaving the scientific story, I felt throughout this book as though it was I who was represented as the newly invented strand of DNA, as the Arboreal ape in its own society, as the collecting bits of matter soon after the formation of the Universe, as in some sense as Carl would have us know, it was me...it was all of us. A wonderful addition to my library indeed.