Friday, April 24, 2015

What is Brian Fagan reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Brian Fagan, author of The Intimate Bond: How Animals Shaped Human History.

His entry begins:
I’m flitting from book to book at the moment, partly because I’ve been traveling a great deal. There are now so many interesting books to read that it’s getting harder and harder to choose from the shelves of new releases—and old ones.

I don’t normally read books on archaeology for pleasure, since that’s my daily diet, but Jason Thompson’s Wonderful Things: A History of Egyptology, Volume 1: From Antiquity to 1881 (Oxford University Press, 2015) is a captivating account of treasure hunters, antiquarians, and archaeologists along the Nile that is both definitive and a nice read. Thompson, the author of a biography of the Victorian Egyptologist John Gardner Wilkinson, brings to life both major and especially lesser known figures in the occasionally flamboyant beginnings of Egyptology. This is a book to...[read on]
About The Intimate Bond, from the publisher:
Animals, and our ever-changing relationship with them, have left an indelible mark on human history. From the dawn of our existence, animals and humans have been constantly redefining their relationship with one another, and entire civilizations have risen and fallen upon this curious bond we share with our fellow fauna. Brian Fagan unfolds this fascinating story from the first wolf who wandered into our prehistoric ancestors' camp and found companionship, to empires built on the backs of horses, donkeys, and camels, to the industrial age when some animals became commodities, often brutally exploited, and others became pets, nurtured and pampered, sometimes to absurd extremes.

Through an in-depth analysis of six truly transformative human-animal relationships, Fagan shows how our habits and our very way of life were considerably and irreversibly altered by our intimate bond with animals. Among other stories, Fagan explores how herding changed human behavior; how the humble donkey helped launch the process of globalization; and how the horse carried a hearty band of nomads across the world and toppled the emperor of China.

With characteristic care and penetrating insight, Fagan reveals the profound influence that animals have exercised on human history and how, in fact, they often drove it.
Learn more about the book and author at Brian Fagan's website.

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Writers Read: Brian Fagan.

--Marshal Zeringue