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The Dawn of Everything

By: David Graeber,David Wengrow
Narrated by: Malk Williams
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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike - either free and equal, or thuggish and warlike. Civilisation, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the 18th century as a reaction to Indigenous critiques of European society and why they are wrong. In doing so, they overturn our view of human history, including the origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery and civilisation itself.

Drawing on path-breaking research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we begin to see what's really there. If humans did not spend 95 per cent of their evolutionary past in tiny bands of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing all that time? If agriculture, and cities, did not mean a plunge into hierarchy and domination, then what kinds of social and economic organisation did they lead to? The answers are often unexpected and suggest that the course of history may be less set in stone and more full of playful possibilities than we tend to assume.

The Dawn of Everything fundamentally transforms our understanding of the human past and offers a path towards imagining new forms of freedom, new ways of organising society. This is a monumental book of formidable intellectual range, animated by curiosity, moral vision and faith in the power of direct action.

©2021 David Graeber, David Wengrow (P)2021 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Pacey and potentially revolutionary." (Sunday Times)

"Iconoclastic and irreverent...an exhilarating read." (Guardian)
 

"Boldly ambitious, entertaining and thought-provoking." (Observer)

What listeners say about The Dawn of Everything

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a fantastic look at early communist societies

great, thorough yet playful study of early history and prehistoric archaeology and sociology. my only criticism is that they dismiss Marx without seeming to have read him, or Engels in his origin of the family. class matters and that's why anarchists have failed to return to Eden in our capitalist era

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Enlightened view of History

Enlightened and practical view of History and humanity. Once understood things make more sense. Great book

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No words...

Start off 🤯 Keep listening 🤯 Get to the end 🤯🤯 Come back and listen again😄

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Haven’t listened in full twice.

And each time made and connected more notes and more ideas that are forming rich parts of my understanding of humanity.

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listen to this. I recommend it

this is a stunningly original view of history. I learnt a great deal. some of the US centric information is a bit tedious but overall it's really amazing.
treat yourself to a scholarly and human view of our world.
can't recommend it highly enough.

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Compelling synthesis of archaeology, anthropology & history

Exposes the teleology & solipsism of a lot of historical narrative. Highlights the contingency & fragility of different forms of social organisation. Interesting concepts underlying the book’s narrative.
Disconnect between iconoclastic content and the plodding style of the narrator, demonstrating lack of engagement, so a bit annoying to listen to. Content trumps though.

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a fascinating and optimistic book

A challenging the simplistic status quo regarding the formation of human societies and true inevitability of democratic capitalism

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Humanities Epic Journey

Loved it, a new take on the history of humanity, filling in the gaps and disproving some of the biases that have come before. An epic and astounding accomplishment by the authors

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A Biting Polemic

A radically different take on the nature of early human society and politics. A must read if these topics interest you.

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Fascinating challenge to many ideas I took as self evident

An at times sense review of new and old ideas on inequality. Well worth persevering with. Great narration! You could hear the passion and intrigue in his voice.

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