In the 18th century, as European colonization proceeded apace, one continent remained to be discovered, the mythical Terra Australis incognita. This, the largest island-continent, had been inhabited for over 60,000 years by the Aborigines, who were described by the first explorers as the ‘miserablest people in the world’. This perception was the beginning of a deep and long-lasting misapprehension, which the authors resoundingly dispel in this lively social and cultural history.

They explore how the aborigines actually came to be in Australia, their extraordinary rituals and ‘Dreamings’, and the importance of … More

In the first global overview of philosophy, Baggini travels the world to provide a wide-ranging map of human thought. One of the great unexplained wonders of human history is that written philosophy flowered entirely separately in China, India and Ancient Greece at more or less the same time. These early philosophies have had a profound impact on the development of distinctive cultures in different parts of the world.

What we call ‘philosophy’ in the West is not even half the story. Julian Baggini sets out to expand our … More

From the hunter-gatherers two million years ago to the ancient empires of Persia and China, and from the Russian Revolution to modern imperialism, humans have always struggled to create a better society than what came before. All over the world at numerous points in the past, a different way of life has become an absolute necessity, over and over again.

This is a history of the humans in these struggles—the hominid and the hunter, the emperor and the slave, the … More

An account of all the new & surprising evidence now available that contradicts the standard narrative for the beginnings of the earliest civilizations Why did humans abandon hunting & gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock & cereal grains, & governed by precursors of today’s states? Most people believe that plant & animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, & states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, & a presumably secure way of living.

But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative. The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations … More

This rich & magisterial work traces Palestine’s millennia-old heritage, uncovering cultures & societies of astounding depth & complexity that stretch back to the very beginnings of recorded history. Starting with the earliest references in Egyptian & Assyrian texts, Nur Masalha explores how Palestine & its Palestinian identity have evolved over thousands of years, from the Bronze Age to the present day.

Drawing on a rich body of sources and the latest archaeological evidence, Masalha shows how Palestine’s multicultural past has been … More

Over the last couple of decades an ideological battle has raged over the political legacy & cultural symbolism of the “golden age” pirates who roamed the seas between the Caribbean Islands & the Indian Ocean from 1690 to 1725. They are depicted as romanticized villains on the one hand, & as genuine social rebels on the other.

They are depicted as romanticized villains on the one hand, and as genuine social rebels on the other. Life Under … More