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Publisher's Summary

Kindred is the definitive guide to the Neanderthals.

Since their discovery more than 160 years ago, Neanderthals have metamorphosed from the losers of the human family tree to A-list hominins.

In Kindred, Rebecca Wragg Sykes uses her experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research to share our new understanding of Neanderthals, shoving aside clichés of rag-clad brutes in an icy wasteland. She reveals them to be curious, clever connoisseurs of their world, technologically inventive and ecologically adaptable. They ranged across vast tracts of tundra and steppe, but also stalked in dappled forests and waded in the Mediterranean Sea. Above all, they were successful survivors for more than 300,000 years, during times of massive climatic upheaval.

At a time when our species has never faced greater threats, we're obsessed with what makes us special. But, much of what defines us was also in Neanderthals and their DNA is still inside us. Planning, co-operation, altruism, craftsmanship, aesthetic sense, imagination, perhaps even a desire for transcendence beyond mortality.

Kindred does for Neanderthals what Sapiens did for us, revealing a deeper, more nuanced story where humanity itself is our ancient, shared inheritance. It is only by understanding them, that we can truly understand ourselves.

©2020 Rebecca Wragg Sykes (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Kindred

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  • Howard Houchen
  • 24-11-2020

Horrible Recording/Sound Quality

I've just started and have muddled through a bit of this terrible sound quality recording. Not sure if I can stand it to finish a book I am VERY interested in. Such a shame.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anthony
  • 30-10-2020

awesome content

Rebecca is an awesome story teller. she draws you in then presents you with fantastic content and knowledge on Neanderthals

7 people found this helpful

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  • Leslie
  • 03-01-2021

Narrator is a poor choice

I don't know why Audible let Rebecca Wragg Sykes read her book--I'd liken her U.K. accent to the sound of cellophane crumpling under water. Many Audible readers have British accents that are wholly clear; even enhance the narrative. But this author's reading is a challenge to follow. The tone of her voice goes up and down, and in some inflections the words or parts of the words get lost altogether. Then, alas, the author imagines she is "a writer" and the reader must endure imagery that is self-indulgent. Some "poetic" passages are so baroque that it's hard to know what the author is talking about. There are also extra clauses in sentences that complicate the narrative, or seem to wander from the topic. I actually got a sample of the book from Kindle to see if I should just buy the print book, because I so love the mysteries and discoveries in paleoanthropology and assumed the print book would solve the problem. But the author diverts too often to writerly indulgence, that while a reflection of her passionate love of the discoveries of Neanderthal humanness, can distract from getting to the point. Other authors on this subject enlighten with a clear unfolding of information. I wish she'd been more faithful to the topic, and less enamored of her own desire to be a "writer."

5 people found this helpful

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  • DT Campbell
  • 11-11-2020

Best science/history I've heard in awhile

Perfectly balanced between close adherence to facts and evocative description of what Neanderthal life could have been like.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jon
  • 13-03-2021

Clan of the Cave Bear was much better

All old information, looks to be someone's college essay on Neanderthals. Don't waste your time on this one.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MR M B HENDERSON
  • 04-01-2021

Ancestors and discovery - recommended

I enjoyed listening to the author’s often poetic description of the art of palaeontology and scientific discovery of our common history and migrations across the globe. Every piece of flint and discarded bone fragment is examined and used to describe the life of these people.
Very convincing and told with an obvious affection.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dennis Fuller
  • 17-11-2020

Topic is expertly treated but, performance is less

I really appreciated the authors approach to the subject and the discipline she brought to the story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • timothy bailey
  • 04-12-2020

Worth it

Glad I listened - words are pronounced properly. Really needs an accompanying PDF - perhaps with a map. Got lost sometimes, but she’s pulls you back in on the regular. Definitely worth a listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mara S.
  • 27-11-2020

A Must-Have for Fans of Prehistory

Comprehensive, evocative, and even poignant, this book offers the perfect deep dive into the fascinating world of our Paleolithic cousins. The author treats her subjects with empathy and respect, offering a nuanced interpretation of the currently available evidence, and inviting the reader to contemplate their own place within the vast, grand narrative of human evolution.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anthony Gavalas
  • 15-04-2021

Exhaustive and enjoyable, yet lacking

Beautifully written and narrated but too focused on archaeology and the technicalities of how Neanderthals processed their tools and food. These subjects were exhaustively covered but there was much lacking regarding the genetics, their interactions with Denisovans and Homo Sapiens and their eventual extinction. I liked the short literary interludes, poetic yet oddly in tune with the scientific narrative. Overall, a great book but it could have been shorter and even more substantive.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-10-2020

Fantastic book!

Fascinating book! the author has gone much deeper in depth on the subject than other books I've read and really explains what is currently known about Neanderthals...more than I thought we knew! She really brings them to life and breaks down alot of misconceptions that we hold about them. 5 stars!!!

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  • Isaac Laing
  • 03-04-2021

fascinating and well written, if a bit repetitive

as the title says, this was a great book but got slightly repetitive at times. well performed, definitely worth a listen

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  • Daniel Burrows
  • 29-03-2021

Brilliant introduction to a complex topic,

As someone who knew (relatively) nothing about our prehistoric cousins, this was a thoroughly interesting, well read, and superbly written narrative history of Neanderthals. Would love to read/listen to again and highly recommended it to my friends/family

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  • rob
  • 19-03-2021

fascinating

incredibly interesting, will definitely revisit to take more in, very in-depth and a lot of information but very well written and composed making it very accessible.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-01-2021

Fantastic

Beautifully done - as a climate scientist, this has quickly established itself as one of the most influential books on how I think and communicate about my science. Such empathy throughout.

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  • Susan Harvey
  • 03-01-2021

Beautiful writing

My son is very interested in archaeology and I listened to this book to test whether to buy him the hardback for Christmas. It is beautifully written. I was never bored (which I expected to be) and found the insights and new information fascinating.

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  • Christopher Inwood
  • 03-10-2020

A wonderful journey thank you Rebecca. X

Every page was both enlightening and entertaining. Such a very interesting subject. I struggled with some of the technical phrases and had to pause and do some research (at 3 am!). I suspected that where certain evidence was finely balanced either way, Rebecca erred towards the Neanderthal positives and I felt that there was an underlying attempt throughout the book to sell us something. The introductions at the beginning of each chapter were so evocative. I often rewound to immerse myself further. Time traveling at its' best. I will certainly read this beauty again.

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