Here are our top ten recommendations if you are looking for the best books to read in General Anthropology. We have made sure our list is diverse to cater to the interests of different types of readers.
1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution - a number one international best seller - that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be "human". One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one - Homo sapiens . What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago, with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because, over the last few decades, humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? This provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
- Author: Yuval Noah Harari
- Genre: Audible Books & Originals, Science & Engineering, Science, Biological Sciences, Evolution & Genetics, Evolution
2. Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilization
Graham Hancock's multimillion best seller Fingerprints of the Gods remains an astonishing, deeply controversial, wide-ranging investigation of the mysteries of our past and the evidence for Earth's lost civilization. Twenty years on, Hancock returns with the sequel to his seminal work, filled with completely new scientific and archaeological evidence, which has only recently come to light.... Near the end of the last ice age, 12,800 years ago, a giant comet that had entered the solar system from deep space thousands of years earlier broke into multiple fragments. Some of these struck the Earth, causing a global cataclysm on a scale unseen since the extinction of the dinosaurs. At least eight of the fragments hit the North American ice cap while further fragments hit the Northern European ice cap. The impacts, from comet fragments a mile wide approaching at more than 60,000 miles an hour, generated huge amounts of heat that instantly liquidized millions of square kilometers of ice, destabilizing the Earth's crust and causing the global deluge that is remembered in myths all around the world. A second series of impacts, equally devastating, causing further cataclysmic flooding, occurred 11,600 years ago - the exact date that Plato gave for the destruction and submergence of Atlantis. The evidence revealed in this book shows beyond reasonable doubt that an advanced civilization that flourished during the Ice Age was destroyed in the global cataclysms between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago. But there were survivors - known to later cultures by names such as "the Sages", "the Magicians", "the Shining Ones", and "the Mystery Teachers of Heaven". They travelled the world in their great ships, doing all in their power to keep the spark of civilization burning. They settled at key locations - Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, Baalbek in the Lebanon, Giza in Egypt, ancient Sumer, Mexico, Peru, and across the Pacific, where a huge pyramid has recently been discovered in Indonesia. Everywhere they went these "Magicians of the Gods" brought with them the memory of a time when mankind had fallen out of harmony with the universe and paid a heavy price. A memory and a warning to the future...for the comet that wrought such destruction between 12,800 and 11,600 years ago may not be done with us yet. Astronomers believe that a 20-mile-wide "dark" fragment of the original giant comet remains hidden within its debris stream and threatens the Earth. An astronomical message encoded at Gobekli Tepe and in the Sphinx and the pyramids of Egypt warns that the "Great Return" will occur in our time....
- Author: Graham Hancock
- Genre: Arts & Photography, History & Criticism, History
3. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
The best-selling author of The Botany of Desire explores the ecology of eating to unveil why we consume what we consume in the 21st century. "What should we have for dinner?" To one degree or another, this simple question assails any creature faced with a wide choice of things to eat. Anthropologists call it the omnivore's dilemma. Choosing from among the countless potential foods nature offers, humans have had to learn what is safe, and what isn't, which mushrooms should be avoided, for example, and which berries we can enjoy. Today, as America confronts what can only be described as a national eating disorder, the omnivore's dilemma has returned with an atavistic vengeance. The cornucopia of the modern American supermarket and fast-food outlet has thrown us back on a bewildering landscape where we once again have to worry about which of those tasty-looking morsels might kill us. At the same time we're realizing that our food choices also have profound implications for the health of our environment. The Omnivore's Dilemma is best-selling author Michael Pollan's brilliant and eye-opening exploration of these little-known but vitally important dimensions of eating in America. We are indeed what we eat, and what we eat remakes the world. A society of voracious and increasingly confused omnivores, we are just beginning to recognize the profound consequences of the simplest everyday food choices, both for ourselves and for the natural world. The Omnivore's Dilemma is a long-overdue book and one that will become known for bringing a completely fresh perspective to a question as ordinary and yet momentous as "What shall we have for dinner?"
- Author: Michael Pollan
- Genre: Audible Books & Originals, Science & Engineering, Science, Nature & Ecology, Ecology
4. Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies
Pulitzer Prize, General Nonfiction, 1998 Guns, Germs and Steel examines the rise of civilization and the issues its development has raised throughout history. Having done field work in New Guinea for more than 30 years, Jared Diamond presents the geographical and ecological factors that have shaped the modern world. From the viewpoint of an evolutionary biologist, he highlights the broadest movements both literal and conceptual on every continent since the Ice Age, and examines societal advances such as writing, religion, government, and technology. Diamond also dissects racial theories of global history, and the resulting work— Guns, Germs and Steel —is a major contribution to our understanding the evolution of human societies.
- Author: Jared Diamond
- Genre: Audible Books & Originals, Science & Engineering, Science, Biological Sciences, Evolution & Genetics, Evolution
5. The Cruelty Is the Point: The Past, Present, and Future of Trump's America
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From an award-winning journalist at The Atlantic , these searing essays make a damning case that cruelty is not merely an unfortunate byproduct of the Trump administration but its main objective and the central theme of the American project. “No writer better demonstrates how American dreams are so often sabotaged by American history. Adam Serwer is essential.”—Ta-Nehisi Coates “Trump summoned the most treacherous forces in American history and conducted them with the ease of a grand maestro.” Like many of us, Adam Serwer didn’t know that Donald Trump would win the 2016 election. But over the four years that followed, the Atlantic staff writer became one of our most astute analysts of the Trump presidency and the volatile powers it harnessed. The shock that greeted Trump’s victory, and the subsequent cruelty of his presidency, represented a failure to confront elements of the American past long thought vanquished. In this searing collection, Serwer chronicles the Trump administration not as an aberration but as an outgrowth of the inequalities the United States was founded on. Serwer is less interested in the presidential spectacle than in the ideological and structural currents behind Trump’s rise—including a media that was often blindsided by the ugly realities of what the administration represented and how it came to be. While deeply engaged with the moment, Serwer’s writing is also haunted by ghosts of an unresolved American past, a past that torments the present. In bracing new essays and previously published works, he explores white nationalism, myths about migration, the political power of police unions, and the many faces of anti-Semitism. For all the dynamics he examines, cruelty is the glue, the binding agent of a movement fueled by fear and exclusion. Serwer argues that rather than pretending these four years didn’t happen or dismissing them as a brief moment of madness, we must face what made them possible. Without acknowledging and confronting these toxic legacies, the fragile dream of American multiracial democracy will remain vulnerable to another ambitious demagogue.
- Author: Adam Serwer
- Publisher: One World (June 29, 2021)
- Genre: History, Americas
- ISBN: 978-0593230800
- Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.62 inches
6. The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER As seen on The Joe Rogan Experience! A groundbreaking dive into the role psychedelics have played in the origins of Western civilization, and the real-life quest for the Holy Grail that could shake the Church to its foundations. The most influential religious historian of the 20th century, Huston Smith, once referred to it as the "best-kept secret" in history. Did the Ancient Greeks use drugs to find God? And did the earliest Christians inherit the same, secret tradition? A profound knowledge of visionary plants, herbs and fungi passed from one generation to the next, ever since the Stone Age? There is zero archaeological evidence for the original Eucharist – the sacred wine said to guarantee life after death for those who drink the blood of Jesus. The Holy Grail and its miraculous contents have never been found. In the absence of any hard data, whatever happened at the Last Supper remains an article of faith for today’s 2.5 billion Christians. In an unprecedented search for real answers, The Immortality Key examines the archaic roots of the ritual that is performed every Sunday for nearly one third of the planet. Religion and science converge to paint a radical picture of Christianity’s founding event. And after centuries of debate, to solve history’s greatest puzzle once and for all. Before the birth of Jesus, the Ancient Greeks found salvation in their own sacraments. Sacred beverages were routinely consumed as part of the so-called Ancient Mysteries – elaborate rites that led initiates to the brink of death. The best and brightest from Athens and Rome flocked to the spiritual capital of Eleusis, where a holy beer unleashed heavenly visions for two thousand years. Others drank the holy wine of Dionysus to become one with the god. In the 1970s, renegade scholars claimed this beer and wine – the original sacraments of Western civilization – were spiked with mind-altering drugs. In recent years, vindication for the disgraced theory has been quietly mounting in the laboratory. The constantly advancing fields of archaeobotany and archaeochemistry have hinted at the enduring use of hallucinogenic drinks in antiquity. And with a single dose of psilocybin, the psychopharmacologists at Johns Hopkins and NYU are now turning self-proclaimed atheists into instant believers. But the smoking gun remains elusive. If these sacraments survived for thousands of years in our remote prehistory, from the Stone Age to the Ancient Greeks, did they also survive into the age of Jesus? Was the Eucharist of the earliest Christians, in fact, a psychedelic Eucharist? With an unquenchable thirst for evidence, Muraresku takes the reader on his twelve-year global hunt for proof. He tours the ruins of Greece with its government archaeologists. He gains access to the hidden collections of the Louvre Museum to show the continuity from pagan to Christian wine. He unravels the Ancient Greek of the New Testament with the world’s most controversial priest. He spelunks into the catacombs under the streets of Rome to decipher the lost symbols of Christianity’s oldest monuments. He breaches the secret archives of the Vatican to unearth manuscripts never before translated into English. And with leads from the archaeological chemists at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he unveils the first scientific data for the ritual use of psychedelic drugs in classical antiquity. The Immortality Key reconstructs the suppressed history of women consecrating a forbidden, drugged Eucharist that was later banned by the Church Fathers. Women who were then targeted as witches during the Inquisition, when Europe’s sacred pharmacology largely disappeared. If the scientists of today have resurrected this technology, then Christianity is in crisis. Unless it returns to its roots. Featuring a Foreword by Graham Hancock, the New York Times bestselling author of America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization .
- Author: Brian C. Muraresku
- Publisher: St. Martin's Press (September 29, 2020)
- Genre: History, World
- ISBN: 978-1250207142
- Dimensions: 6.49 x 1.55 x 9.55 inches
7. America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization
This program is read by the author. Was an advanced civilization lost to history in the global cataclysm that ended the last Ice Age? Graham Hancock, the internationally best-selling author, has made it his life's work to find out - and in America Before , he draws on the latest archaeological and DNA evidence to bring his quest to a stunning conclusion. We’ve been taught that North and South America were empty of humans until around 13,000 years ago - among the last great landmasses on earth to have been settled by our ancestors. But new discoveries have radically reshaped this long-established picture, and we know now that the Americas were first peopled more than 130,000 years ago - many tens of thousands of years before human settlements became established elsewhere. Hancock's research takes us on a series of journeys and encounters with the scientists responsible for the recent extraordinary breakthroughs. In the process, from the Mississippi Valley to the Amazon rain forest, he reveals that ancient "New World" cultures share a legacy of advanced scientific knowledge and sophisticated spiritual beliefs with supposedly unconnected "Old World" cultures. Have archaeologists focused for too long only on the "Old World" in their search for the origins of civilization while failing to consider the revolutionary possibility that those origins might in fact be found in the "New World"? America Before: The Key to Earth's Lost Civilization is the culmination of everything that millions of people have loved in Hancock's body of work over the past decades, namely a mind-dilating exploration of the mysteries of the past, amazing archaeological discoveries, and profound implications for how we lead our lives today.
- Author: Graham Hancock
- Genre: Religion & Spirituality, Occult & Paranormal, Ancient & Controversial Knowledge
8. Fingerprints of the Gods
Could the story of mankind be far older than we have previously believed? Using tools as varied as archaeo-astronomy, geology, and computer analysis of ancient myths, Graham Hancock presents a compelling case to suggest that it is. “A fancy piece of historical sleuthing . . . intriguing and entertaining and sturdy enough to give a long pause for thought.”— Kirkus Reviews In Fingerprints of the Gods, Hancock embarks on a worldwide quest to put together all the pieces of the vast and fascinating jigsaw of mankind’s hidden past. In ancient monuments as far apart as Egypt’s Great Sphinx, the strange Andean ruins of Tihuanaco, and Mexico’s awe-inspiring Temples of the Sun and Moon, he reveals not only the clear fingerprints of an as-yet-unidentified civilization of remote antiquity, but also startling evidence of its vast sophistication, technological advancement, and evolved scientific knowledge. A record-breaking number one bestseller in Britain, Fingerprints of the Gods contains the makings of an intellectual revolution, a dramatic and irreversible change in the way that we understand our past—and so our future. And Fingerprints of God tells us something more. As we recover the truth about prehistory, and discover the real meaning of ancient myths and monuments, it becomes apparent that a warning has been handed down to us, a warning of terrible cataclysm that afflicts the Earth in great cycles at irregular intervals of time—a cataclysm that may be about to recur. “Readers will hugely enjoy their quest in these pages of inspired storytelling.”— The Times (UK)
- Author: Graham Hancock
- Publisher: Crown; Reissue edition (April 2, 1996)
- Genre: History, Americas
- ISBN: 978-0517887295
- Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
9. The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook -- What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing
A renowned psychiatrist reveals how trauma affects children - and outlines the path to recovery. "Fascinating and upbeat.... Dr. Perry is both a world-class creative scientist and a compassionate therapist." (Mary Pipher, PhD, author of Reviving Ophelia ) How does trauma affect a child's mind - and how can that mind recover? In the classic The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog , Dr. Perry explains what happens to the brains of children exposed to extreme stress and shares their lessons of courage, humanity, and hope. Only when we understand the science of the mind and the power of love and nurturing can we hope to heal the spirit of even the most wounded child. PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.
- Author: Bruce D. Perry
- Genre: Audible Books & Originals, Health & Wellness, Psychology & Mental Health, Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Child Psychology
10. Black Skin, White Masks
Few modern voices have had as profound an impact on the black identity and critical race theory as Frantz Fanon, and Black Skin, White Masks represents some of his most important work. Fanon’s masterwork is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers. A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a vital force today from one of the most important theorists of revolutionary struggle, colonialism, and racial difference in history.
- Author: Frantz Fanon
- Publisher: Grove Press; Revised edition (September 10, 2008)
- Genre: Politics & Social Sciences, Social Sciences
- ISBN: 978-0802143006
- Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches