So we are finally here! Launch day in the United States! October 27th is the day that Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art finally comes available in hardcover and paperback to readers across the U.S.
While available on kindle and audible for some time, the book was not officially available until now.
In preparation for the books launch, we interviewed the author, Rebecca Wragg Sykes, which we had a great time doing. You should check out that talk here:
But now that the book is out, lets talk about it! How is it? Should you get it, and whole role does it play in the future of anthropology?
First off lets start off with the basics, if you are looking for a book on Neanderthals, especially one that has by far the most up to date information based on the most recent findings and technology, then this is the book for you. Not only is all of the information top notch, and as up to date as you will find out there (besides any discoveries that come out after the publication of this article).
Each chapter starts with a look back into the past, with a glimpse through the eyes of our Neanderthal cousins, while some people complain about these anecdotes, I find that they add to the overall story and provide a more fulfilling and imaginary driving experience when imagining a world that no longer exists. After all, no matter how much archaeology is involved, there is still going to be guess work, might as well make it interesting and logical.
The book guides you through the basic lives of a Neanderthal, as the title suggests, from birth to death and everything in between we get a close glimpse at what it was like to live in a world no longer recognized. From how stone tools were made and used to the way in which a Neanderthal women would give birth, each aspect is touched upon, and in unique and intelligent ways.
At the time of writing this, it is a fact, that there are no more updated or more informed books on Neanderthals out there Rebecca Wragg Sykes has quickly made herself a name in the field of Paleoanthropology and Archaeology doing various works in STEM and science education. And for good measure, her charisma, love her work, and talent at bringing detailed and hard to understand concepts into view creates an entirely new perspective on creatures long dead.
From start to finish the book takes you on a long journey through time and explains each aspect of it, in a kind, understandable way that makes it enjoyable to read and learn even the harder, more dry topics.
For me, Im a biological anthropology kind of guy, the chapters on stone tool knapping were not my favorite, but they were still very informative.
So what is there to learn and take away from this book? First of all, let me say, if it is not clear, if you want to learn about Neanderthals this is a must read, simply put. This is the best modern book on Neanderthals.
But what is the main take away? To me, I think its an idea that many anthropologists have been trying to push for some time with little success, but maybe this book will change that. To change the idea that Neanderthals were not brutish ancestors who only lived in caves and ate each other. But that they were so much more, so much closer to our own species than we ever thought, both in thought, culture and anatomy. That these creatures were in fact us, and that our differences are far smaller than they ever seemed before.
Neanderthals were not “cavemen”, they were sophisticated hominids who lived dedicated and developed lives that were not so different than our own. Hopefully this message gets across to a new, and old generation, for we have so much to learn about those that came before us, and even during our own existence. We have no closer relatives, its time we start to recognize them for who and what they are and their importance in our daily lives, our health, and our future.
We have so much left to learn about Neanderthals, and while KINDRED is a great start and covers just so much information, it is just the tip of the iceberg, the taste to get you interested and involved in the on going research involving paleontology and Neanderthals.
You can order your copy of the book right here on your favorite format:
We highly recommend it, and suggest you watch our interview to go along with the book for added content!
We would like to go ahead and thank Rebecca again for her participation in our interview, and thank you for the wonderful years and hard work that she has put forth to bring us this great work on Neanderthals.
Until Next Time
Never Stop Exploring