The Handshake (B Format Paperback)


A quirky and engaging history reveals the secrets of one of our most ancient social gestures

SKU: 9781788167819


'It's a little book of wonder, it's fantastic' Chris Evans

'A fabulously sparky, wide-ranging and horizon-broadening little study … joyously unboring' Sunday Times

Friends do it, strangers do it and so do chimpanzees – and it's not just deeply embedded in our history and culture, it may even be written in our DNA. The humble handshake, it turns out, has a rich and surprising history.

So let's join palaeoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi as she embarks on a funny and fascinating voyage of discovery – from the handshake's origins (at least seven million years ago) all the way to its sudden disappearance in March 2020. Drawing on new research, anthropological insights and first-hand experience, she'll reveal how this most friendly of gestures has played a role in everything from meetings with uncontacted tribes to political assassinations – and what it tells us about the enduring power of human contact.

Because the story of the handshake … is far from over.