The Handshake (Hardback)

A Gripping History

Ella Al-Shamahi

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

A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR

'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.

Publication date: 25/03/2021

£10.99

ISBN: 9781788167802

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

The Handshake (Ebook)

A Gripping History

Ella Al-Shamahi

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

'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.

Publication date: 25/03/2021

£6.99

ISBN: 9781782838371

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B08FNHNRDD

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

The Handshake (Paperback)

A Gripping History

Ella Al-Shamahi

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

'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.

Publication date: 02/09/2021

£7.99

ISBN: 9781788167819

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Reviews for The Handshake

'Al-Shamahi's beguiling book has a more general claim to attention than merely being an account of the crisis in manners that Covid has made ... cheerful, witty and well-researched.'

Stephen Bayley Spectator

'Witty and wide-ranging'

PD Smith Guardian

'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

'Having not particularly missed shaking hands over the past year, I ended this very engaging little book so desperate to get started again that I'm in danger of becoming a super-spreader.'

 Telegraph

Ella Al-Shamahi

Ella Al-Shamahi

Ella Al-Shamahi is a National Geographic Explorer, paleoanthropologist, evolutionary biologist and stand-up comic. She specialises in Neanderthals, caves and expeditions in hostile, disputed and unstable territories. She is a TV presenter, a TED 2019 speaker and has taken 4 shows up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She has degrees in Genetics, Taxonomy and Biodiversity and is undertaking her PhD in Palaeoanthropology.