Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth
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- Author: Edmund Russell, Boston University
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We tend to see history and evolution springing from separate roots, one grounded in the human world and the other in the natural world. Human beings have, however, become probably the most powerful species shaping evolution today, and human-caused evolution in other species has probably been the most important force shaping human history. This book introduces readers to evolutionary history, a new field that unites history and biology to create a fuller understanding of the past than either can produce on its own. Evolutionary history can stimulate surprising new hypotheses for any field of history and evolutionary biology. How many art historians would have guessed that sculpture encouraged the evolution of tuskless elephants? How many biologists would have predicted that human poverty would accelerate animal evolution? How many military historians would have suspected that plant evolution would convert a counter-insurgency strategy into a rebel subsidy? With examples from around the globe, this book will help readers see the broadest patterns of history and the details of their own life in a new light.Read more
- Written for a wide audience and requires no prior knowledge of history or biology
- Links the two cultures of humanities (history) and science (biology)
- Provides a unified way of thinking about historical processes usually studied separately, including domestication, plant and animal breeding, pathogen resistance to drugs, pest resistance to pesticides, fisheries collapse, cloning and genetic engineering
Reviews & endorsements
"Russell has written an excellent, absorbing book about a relatively new scholarship paradigm, evolutionary history. The author's research in history and biology make him uniquely qualified to provide a fresh perspective on melding these two seemingly disparate disciplines. Via such an interdisciplinary approach, Russell promotes a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the past and present. Highly recommended."
J.N. Muzio, Choice MagazineSee more reviews
"Russell has written an excellent, absorbing book about a relatively new scholarship paradigm, evolutionary history. Highly recommended." -Choice
"... accessible and engagingly written, thoughtful, and thought-provoking... Written in a manner that will make it attractive to scholars and students alike, it will force perceptive readers to re-examine their fields. History, and especially the histories of technology and the environment, surely benefit from the insights of biology and evolution." -- Stephen H. Cutliffe, American Historical Review
"...an engaging case for 'evolutionary history...' -Henry Nicholls, Galapagos Matters
Review was not posted due to profanity×
- Date Published: January 2011
- format: Adobe eBook Reader
- isbn: 9780511985379
- contains: 11 b/w illus. 4 tables
- availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
Table of Contents
1. Matters of life and death
2. Evolution's visible hands
3. Hunting and fishing
5. Altering environments
6. Evolution revolution
7. Intentional evolution
9. Evolution of the industrial revolution
10. History of technology
11. Environmental history
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Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses
- African World Studies
- American Environmental History
- Big History
- Humans and Animals in History
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