The Book

ORIGIN STORIES

The Deep Histories Behind Today’s News

by David W. Tollen

In process (not finished or published)

hanging garden of Babylon, historyDavid 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 impact on 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 fourteen chapters covers one topic — in just eight to eighteen pages. (See below for the full table of contents.)

Origin Stories‘ genre includes works like Harari’s Sapiens and Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. But it’s easier reading and shorter than those books, so it will serve a broader audience.

Author

David Tollen has succeeded in multiple roles by explaining very complex topics in simple, user-friendly language. He is a best-selling and award-winning author, expert witness, attorney, sought-after speaker, and instructor at U.C. Berkeley Law School.

David wrote The Tech Contracts Handbook, which has for years ranked as the #1 bestseller on Amazon from ABA Publishing. He also wrote The Jericho River, a multiple-award-winning YA novel that uses fantasy to teach world history. And he writes this blog.

David teaches IT contracts at U.C. Berkeley Law School. And he works as a lawyer, legal trainer, and expert witness at companies he founded. He also serves on the board of advisors for World History Encyclopedia. David has degrees from Harvard Law School and Cambridge University, as well as a B.A. in history from U.C. Berkeley.

For more on David, please see our About page.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Graphical Timeline

THE MAIN CHARACTER AND THE (PREHISTORIC) SETTING

  1. Our Forager Story: Who Are We?
  2. Ancient Ecosystem Engineering: How Prehistoric People Created Our Environment
  3. Human Species and Hybrids: The Prehistory Behind Race, Part A
  4. Lost Races and the Human Mix: The Prehistory Behind Race, Part B

STORIES OF PLAGUES, PRINCESSES, PRIESTS,
PREJUDICE, AND PROHIBITED PERSONAS

  1. Contagion: How the Nastiest Bugs Found Us and Shaped Our World
  2. Gender Games: Men, Women, and Other Humans
  3. Religion: What We’ve Believed and What We’ve Done About It
  4. Races and Racism: Their Invention and Evolution
  5. Homosexuality: The Love that Dared Speak Its Name

STORIES OF CIVILIZATIONS AND HOW WE RUN THEM

  1. Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux (1815-1884). "Lamartine repoussant le drapeau rouge devant l'Hôtel de Ville, le 25 février 1848". Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Petit Palais.Western Civilization: How It Got Here and How It’s Doing So Far
  2. Great Powers and Trouble-Spots: A Quick Tour
  3. Nationalism: A New Way to Organize the World
  4. Liberal vs. Conservative: What’s Really Going On?
  5. Democracy: How We Lose It
  6. Conspiracy Theories: What Truths Does History Reveal?
  7. Decline and Fall … and Rebirth: How Civilizations Have Died or Transformed

APPENDICES: TWO VERY SHORT PRIMERS

A. Genetics
B. Evolution

 


Images

  • Hanging Gardens of Babylon from 16th century CE engraving by Martin Heemskerck, cropped – public domain and provided through World History Encyclopedia
  • David Tollen speaking
  • Naro Bushmen, cropped, from author “DVL2” via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • Judith with the Head of HolofernesLucas Cranach the Elder (1520-1540)
  • Lamartine in front of the Town Hall of Paris rejects the red flag, Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux (1815-1884)
  • Double helix, courtesy of Pixabay.com and iStock