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Origin Story: A Big History of Everything

Origin Story: A Big History of Everything

by David Christian
Origin Story: A Big History of Everything

Origin Story: A Big History of Everything

by David Christian


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This New York Times bestseller "elegantly weaves evidence and insights . . . into a single, accessible historical narrative" (Bill Gates) and presents a captivating history of the universe — from the Big Bang to dinosaurs to mass globalization and beyond.

Most historians study the smallest slivers of time, emphasizing specific dates, individuals, and documents. But what would it look like to study the whole of history, from the big bang through the present day — and even into the remote future? How would looking at the full span of time change the way we perceive the universe, the earth, and our very existence?

These were the questions David Christian set out to answer when he created the field of "Big History," the most exciting new approach to understanding where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. In Origin Story, Christian takes readers on a wild ride through the entire 13.8 billion years we've come to know as "history." By focusing on defining events (thresholds), major trends, and profound questions about our origins, Christian exposes the hidden threads that tie everything together — from the creation of the planet to the advent of agriculture, nuclear war, and beyond.

With stunning insights into the origin of the universe, the beginning of life, the emergence of humans, and what the future might bring, Origin Story boldly reframes our place in the cosmos.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316392013
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 05/21/2019
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 406,479
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

David Christian is a Distinguished Professor of History at Macquarie University and director of Macquarie University's Big History Institute. He cofounded the Big History Project with Bill Gates, his Coursera MOOCs are popular around the world, and he is cocreator of the Macquarie University Big History School. He has delivered keynotes at conferences around the world, including the Davos World Economic Forum, and his TED Talk has been viewed more than seven million times. He is the author of numerous books and articles.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction 3

Timeline 13

Part I Cosmos

Chapter 1 In the Beginning: Threshold 1 17

Chapter 2 Stars and Galaxies: Thresholds 2 and 3 39

Chapter 3 Molecules and Moons: Threshold 4 56

Part II Biosphere

Chapter 4 Life: Threshold 5 75

Chapter 5 Little Life and the Biosphere 99

Chapter 6 Big Life and the Biosphere 125

Part III Us

Chapter 7 Humans: Threshold 6 157

Chapter 8 Farming: Threshold 7 188

Chapter 9 Agrarian Civilizations 210

Chapter 10 On the Verge of Today's World 236

Chapter 11 The Anthropocene: Threshold 8 259

Part IV The Future

Chapter 12 Where Is It All Going? 287

Acknowledgments 307

Appendix: Statistics on Human History 311

Glossary 313

Further Reading 325

Notes 327

Index 341

What People are Saying About This

Bill Gates

"I have long been a fan of David Christian. In Origin Story, he elegantly weaves evidence and insights from many scientific and historical disciplines into a single, accessible historical narrative.”

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