My first introduction to this book came about a year ago when I first started visiting The Applied Epistemology Library - the on-line home of the authors. I was lucky enough to read a rough draft of it then. It blew me away at the time and I felt quite privileged reading it. It felt a bit like seeing a great band before they became famous. You could just feel there was something special going on and it was good getting a little peak through the window. Anyhow, I was consequently really pleased when the book got released last month.
When I read it this time round I was once again left with the same feeling - basically, the feeling that it's an important book. It's changed the way I look at history. British history in particular, but also human history in general. It's changed the way I look at crows as well.
The book is full of original, and I mean truly original, ideas. It's also full of fascinating information and bits of folklore. I won't go into too much detail, all I'll say is that people with a genuine curiosity about history will love it. If you like plodding the same beaten path you might find some of the stuff in here a little beyond the pale, however if you're like me and you enjoy reading about history but get bored very quickly you'll probably think it invaluable.
Finally I'd say the most impressive thing about this book is the way it manages to add colour to the otherwise darkened pages of pre-history. The massive gap between caveman-type people and literate moderns is for the first time given a bit of daylight. The bit in the final chapter about plant domestication is probably the first time anyone's tried to explain the leap to agriculture in a fully thought-through manner.
There's also a website n forum to accompany the book;