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 chapter covers one topic — in just four to eighteen pages.

Webs of Origin 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


  1. Our Forager Story: Who Were We (Until Yesterday)?
  2. Ecosystem Engineering: What’s Our Role in Making the Natural World?
    ~ Intergloss: Uglug and the Non-Sapiens
  3. Big Branches and Lost Races: How Did Today’s Continental Populations (a.k.a. “Races”) Get There?
    ~ Intergloss: Indo-European Titans and Translations


  1. The Age of Ariadne: What Does Prehistory Tell Us About Complex Civilization?
  2. Princes and Public Servants: How Have We Gained and Lost Freedom?
  3. Nationalism: How Did We End Up Living in a World of Independent Nations?
    ~ Intergloss: When Government and Ideology Collide
  4. The Enlightenment: How Much Better Are We Doing than Past People and Why?
    ~ Intergloss: How England Defeated Europe’s Greatest King with Banking


  1. Plagues and Poxes: How Have Diseases Shaped Our World?
  2. GPTs: How Has New Tech Reshaped Our World?
  3. Prophets and Priests: How Did a Guy Named Abraham Take Over Half the World?
  4. Races and Racism: Where Did We Get Them, and What Role Have They Played?
    ~ Intergloss: Hidden Histories of Sexual Orientation and Gender-Fluidity
  5. Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories: What Does History Tell Us?
  6. Police, Pacifists, and Other Peace-Keepers: Who’s Done the Most to Reduce Violence?
  7. Armageddon and Transformation: When Have Civilizations Fallen, and When Have They Found New Life?
    ~ Intergloss: Black Swans and Predicting Future History

A. Genetics
B. Natural Selection in the Evolution of Life and Other Things
C. Timeline

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.

Get your free copy below, sent via e-mail, and join our newsletter & post notices list.

* indicates required