01/01/2009. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Macmillan Science. 400 page illustrated indexed small hardback. Price: £ 15.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-230-20182-8.
check out website: www.macmillanscience.com
When it comes to non-fiction books and depending on the subject matter, there are reads and important reads. 'Ancestral Roots' comes under important reads and I defy anyone to read this book and either recognise aspects of yourself or others.
If you thought evolution had stopped with intellectual development think again. Author Timothy Clack explores how human beings have from scavenger-hunter to couch potato in a couple civilised steps. If anything, this is not a pretty sight. Remember the old SF image of degenerate bodies and huge brained humans? Clack doesn't go as far as that simply cos he doesn't look too far into the future but from the information here, add several hundred pounds of obesity and you wouldn't be that far off the mark. The final chapters devoting to eating habits are a must read, especially if you need the required shock to diet. Saying that, the real secret is just to make time to cook your own food than rely on ready-made meals if you want to cut down on the destructive additives that are put in them. You certainly wouldn't want to feed your kids them. There's always the thing where if you knew what was inside some foods, you'd avoid them. It makes compelling reading.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Clack really does a thorough investigation with a compelling authoritative tone from how Man starting walking on his own two feet to environmental damage to aggressive tendencies and sex drive to the stress of living. All of that before we get to wrong food damage. If anything, this book is not just about how the human race has evolved in the past couple centuries but about some of the adverse effects of civilisation. It was quite startling to read that early Man was more along the lines of a super-human in terms of strength, speed and stamina compared to modern Man. How far humans have fallen. Even if there is a couch to land on.
From a Science Fiction writers' point of view, this is also a stocktake of how humans are today and what they are evolving into and as such is both enlightening and brimming with information that will really give you some serious pause for thought. I found this a really important book and can't really do as much justice as a serious read will give you. If you need an incentive to change your life style then this is the place to start. If you think you've got everything sorted then take a bite of this apple and stayed in Eden.
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