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

Walking up Quarry Street, Albert felt a huge surge of pride. His first pay packet. He’d earned it all himself. His heart nearly burst out of his chest as he placed the money on the kitchen table in front of his mother. She picked it up, smiled briefly, and then said, ‘It’s not a lot, but it’ll do.” Their parents worked as miners & lace workers, but by the mid-20th century new opportunities beckoned for the children of the Midlands.

Derek, Betty, Albert, Pauline, Doreen and Bob came from families where every penny counted. Education meant sacrifice, and even children … More