Exploring the unique qualities and characteristics shared by all human beings, this richly illustrated study looks at what it means to be human, profiling the more than 250 different peoples inhabiting Earth, highlighting the diversity of human culture and society, and discussing everything from human evolution and biology to the future of humankind.
One of the defining characteristics of humanity is our profound curiosity about ourselves and others like us, and this lush book does an exquisite job of satisfying that curiosity. The volume strikes a fine balance between comprehensiveness and readability. Everywhere the eye falls sharp images, informative captions and easily digestible chunks of information capture the readers attention. Color-coded boxes containing facts, historical details, profiles and more combine with the general layout to ensure that there is always one more thing for the reader to investigate, making this book hard to put down (though its heft makes it hard to hold up). The striking cover image of a massive eye gives readers the impression that they are being examined in extreme detail by the book itself, a feeling that is perpetuated within. The book addresses seven overarching aspects of mankind: origins, body, mind, life cycle, society, culture and peoples. In these sections, readers discover why their palms sweat when they are nervous, how tongue-rolling can explain genetics, what the connection between language and thought is, why in-laws are never a problem in Papua New Guinea, how different economic systems work, what insult is the earliest we learn and where in the world nearly man-sized stones are used as money. The varied arrangement of the images gives this volume less of an encyclopedic feel than the previous book in DK?s Smithsonian series (Animal), and the visuals are often compelling. Unlike many occasionally-flipped-through coffee table books, this impressive volume is sure to become a much-used household reference.
Hardcover: 512 pages