A SPECTATOR BOOK OF THE YEAR 2022
'A thrilling deep-dive through our evolutionary past, and a witty and learned commentary on why we are the way we are – and what wisdom we've lost along the way' Cal Flynn, author of Islands of Abandonment
'A wild ride: brave, outrageous, hilarious, helpful and urgent … essential reading' Merlin Sheldrake, author of Entangled Lives
What kind of creature is a human? If we don't know what we are, how can we know how to act? Charles Foster sets out to understand what a human is, inhabiting the sensory worlds of humans at three pivotal moments in our history.
Foster begins his quest with his son in a Derbyshire wood, trying to find a way of experiencing the world that recognises the deep expanse of time when we understood ourselves as hunter-gatherers, and when modern consciousness was first ignited. From there he travels to the Neolithic, a way of being defined by fences, farms, sky gods and slaughterhouses, and finally to the Enlightenment, when we decided that the universe was a machine and we were soulless cogs within it.