Review: “The Dawn Of Everything”

July 9, 2023

In my recent study of ancient civilizations, I bought this huge book – “The Dawn Of Everything – A New History Of Humanity”, by David Graeber and David Wengrow.

This was a completely different type of read for me; Graeber and Wengrow are anthropologists and archeologists, and write as such. I don’t know a lot about Wengrow, but Graeber (who passed in 2020)
was a founder of the “Occupy” movement, and a prolific writer.

Graeber’s Wikipedia page is quoted here:

“In November 2011, Rolling Stone credited Graeber with giving the Occupy Wall Street movement its theme: “We are the 99 percent”. Graeber wrote in The Democracy Project that the slogan “was a collective creation”.
Graeber argued that the Occupy Wall Street movement’s lack of recognition of the legitimacy of either existing political institutions or the legal structure, its embrace of non-hierarchical consensus decision-making and of prefigurative politics made it a fundamentally anarchist project.”

In this sense, “The Dawn Of Everything” might just be Graeber’s “Homage” to the “Occupy” movement.

The book essentially begins with a comparison of early European philosophy, especially as it related to the sociology of indigenous people in the Americas. For instance, it opens with a comparison of Jacques Rousseau’s theories about the perceived social equality of “The Noble Savage” – up to the introduction of agriculture – compared to Thomas Hobbes’s theory that the “original state of nature was in no sense innocent; it must instead have been “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.

The authors proceed to state classic analysis of ancient civilizations, and then tear that analysis down, introducing new evidence, concepts and ideas. For instance, they introduce the concept of “play agriculture”, in which primitive cultures dabbled with organized agriculture only seasonally if at all.
The authors also give much credit to women, who innovated weaving and sewing and were the primary drivers of processing food, leading to agriculture.

The authors touch on other civilizations that I have read about, the hidden and unexplained structures such as Gobekli Tepe and other neolithic sites, without attempting to decode exactly what they were.
They do not however, pull any punches as to the level of violence and possible cannibalism in such societies.

This is somewhat of a quest to determine when equality began, more to say it may have never existed.

The book is massive, but don’t let that turn you away. Though written by social scientists, it reads well and provides much food-for-thought. If you are looking for a broad perspective on the history of humanity, this might be your book. However, it is plainly that – a broad perspective. The book jumps around quite a bit but seemingly always circles back to the Rousseau-Hobbes dialectic.

-John Titus

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

RSS Northwest Research & Covert Book Report

  • Review: Gold Warriors – America’s Secret Recovery Of Yamashita’s Gold
    This book, “Gold Warriors”, by Sterling and Peggy Seagrave is really, really good. It can be expensive because it is out of print, but I bought it long ago and it has been waiting in my “to read” pile. Affordable copies can still be found, I ordered one for a friend and apparently it is […]
  • “Burning” Issues Remain After 2013 Exchange Fire
    Photo c/o People who have lived in San Juan County long enough are familiar with the original “Exchange”, a recycle/re-use operation, designed to take useful items out of the waste stream. The “Exchange” is variously reported as being established between 1981 and 1983, and contains nearly everything needed to outfit a household. The Exchange […]
  • Review: “Mind Games – The Assassination Of John Lennon”
    “Mind Games” is a great “Who-Done-it”. Of course, I am old enough to have remembered the December 1980 killing of Lennon – as well as that of JFK, King, And RFK. In fact, there are multiple similarities between the assassination of Robert Kennedy and that of John Lennon. Author David Whelan has deeply studied the […]
  • Review: “The Truth About Wuhan” By Dr. Andrew G. Huff
    Want some serious information about the origins of the COVID virus? “The Truth About Wuhan” is the book for you. Dr. Andrew G. Huff was an EcoHealth Alliance Vice President, definitely an insider with specialized knowledge regarding the creation of the Covid virus. The sub-title of the book is “How I Uncovered The Biggest Lie […]
  • Review: The End Of The World Is Just The Beginning
    This book, “The End Of The World..” by Peter Zeihan was quite interesting to read and share. Clearly, I had never heard of Zeihan, mainly because my political analysis has been way different, and it appears he mainly writes for the investor class. With that said, I really liked reading this book. As I wrote, […]