Webs of Origin

Deep Histories of the Kings, Cavepeople, Dogmas, and DNA Shaping Today’s World

David Tollen’s new book tells the histories behind today’s great issues. It’s a “reader’s digest” for the vital ideas of anthropology and world history – with a user-friendly voice and a rare breadth of topics. Those topics include the origins and role of “races,” humanity’s 50,000-year management of the environment, the sources of Western power, the deaths of democracies, our species’ unusual war with microorganisms, and the myths and realities of conspiracies. Each of the f0urteen chapters covers one topic — in just eight to eighteen pages.

Our Origin Stories views history from 10,000 feet. It offers a clearer view of the present by telling background stories that span centuries, millennia, and more. Its genre includes works like Harari’s Sapiens and Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. But it’s shorter and simpler than those and similar books, so it will serve a broader audience.

Webs of Origin – Table of Contents

Introduction: Not-Quite-True Tales and Webs of Origin

I. TALES OF ROOTS AND MIGRATIONS

  1. Our Forager Story: 300,000 Years of Hunting and Gathering
  2. Middle Earth Meets Planet of the Apes: When Humanity Had Many Species
    ~ Intergloss: Canis lupus Loves Us
  3. How We Made the “Natural” World: 75,000 Years of Ecosystem Engineering
  4. Big Branches and Lost Races: The Origins of Today’s Continental Populations (a.k.a. “Races”)
    ~ Intergloss: Indo-European Titans and Translations

II. TALES OF LIFESTYLE, GOVERNMENT, FREEDOM, AND DOMINATION

  1. The Age of Ariadne: Cities, Farming, and the Long, Long Reign of Prehistoric Civilization
  2. Potentates and Public Servants: The History of Democracy, Domination, and Freedom
    ~ Intergloss: How England Defeated Europe’s Greatest King with Banking
  3. Nationalism: How We’ve Organized, Divided, and Supercharged the Political World
    ~ Intergloss: Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories – History Weighs In
  4. The Enlightenment: Source of Modern Success

III. ONCE UPON A TIME

  1. Plagues and Poxes: Histories Written by Horrible Diseases
  2. GPTs: How We’ve Rebuilt Our World with New Tech
  3. Prophets and Priestesses: The Rise of Moral Religions
    ~ Intergloss: How Women’s Hair and Bodies Became Shameful
  4. Races and Racism: How We Invented Them
  5. Generals and Pacifists: A Report Card on Attempts to Reduce Violence
  6. Armageddon and Transformation: How Civilizations Fall or Renew
    ~ Intergloss: Black Swans – Can We Predict Future History?

APPENDICES: THREE VERY SHORT PRIMERS
A. Genetics
B. Natural Selection in the Evolution of Life and Other Things
C. Timeline of Sapiens History

Six Milestones

These six histories shape our world, yet they’re seldom told. This unique booklet recounts six pivotal events – ancient, medieval, and modern – in brief and simple language, accompanied by detailed maps and beautiful original illustrations.

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