Most of us take for granted the features of our modern society, from air travel and telecommunications to literacy and obesity. Yet for nearly all of its six million years of existence, human society had none of these things. While the gulf that divides us from our primitive ancestors may seem unbridgeably wide, we can glimpse much of our former lifestyle in those largely traditional societies still or recently in existence. Societies like those of the New Guinea Highlanders remind us that it was only yesterday—in evolutionary time—when everything changed and that we moderns still possess bodies and social practices often better adapted to traditional than to modern conditions.
The World Until Yesterday provides a mesmerizing firsthand picture of the human past as it had been for millions of years—a past that has mostly vanished—and considers what the differences between that past and our present mean for our lives today.
This is Jared Diamond’s most personal book to date, as he draws extensively from his decades of field work in the Pacific islands, as well as evidence from Inuit, Amazonian Indians, Kalahari San people, and others. Diamond doesn’t romanticize traditional societies—after all, we are shocked by some of their practices—but he finds that their solutions to universal human problems such as child rearing, elder care, dispute resolution, risk, and physical fitness have much to teach us. A characteristically provocative, enlightening, and entertaining book, The World Until Yesterday will be essential and delightful reading.
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“Why is Sex Fun? is the best book on the subject I've read. This lively exploration of our sexual heritage offers fascinating reading for anyone curious about why lovers do what they do.”
— Diane Ackerman, author of A Natural History of the Senses
“I am so jealous of Jared Diamond, for he writes with such an elegant simplicity! Here, he takes a loot at the endlessly fascinating topic of human sexuality His convincing arguments should persuade xm that there are very special reasons why we evolved to use sex for recreation as well as for procreatim whereas most other mammals are denied that pleasure…. It is a great little book, by one of the worlds foremost biological philosophers.”
— Roger Shohl, Professor of Physiology Monash University Australia
“Once again Jared Diamond provides us with answers to questions we may never have stopped to ask, but wish we had. In this long essay Diamond explains that recreational sex, while not unique to humans, is a rare behavior in the animal world. Above all, we learn, sexual activity divorced fron procreation is not only part of what it is to be human, but the very crux of our evolutionary success.”
— Bettyaxn Kevles, author of Naked to the Bonn Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century
JARED DIAMOND, a University of California világhírű élettanprofesszora szerint az ember szexuális viselkedése, mely a leghevesebb gyönyörök, gyakorta pedig a szenvedések és nyomorúságok forrása, kifejezetten bizarr, legalábbis ha a földünkön élő többi 4300 emlősfajéhoz hasonlítjuk. A tudósok feltételezik, hogy még legközelebbi majomszerű őseink is döntően másfajta "szexet" űztek. Mely evolúciós erők hatására lettünk olyannyira másmilyenek? Miért pont így kellett történnie? Mi is olyan meghökkentő bennünk, emberekben? A szerző sziporkázóan szellemes érveléssel és megragadó példák sokaságával fejti ki, miként vált döntő jelentőségűvé az emberré válásunkban - más egyéb tényezők mellett - a szex.