Alice Roberts The Incredible Human Journey my review of this must have book, is one of my longest ever titles for my blog, but I didn't want to confuse it with the BBC television series of the same name.
Although, being a Vegetarian, she probably won't like my way of explain things, I hope she forgives me. I had seen the excellent television series of the same name. Now television is very good, but it's like being invited to a have nice Rib eye steak and then just given pictures of it. This all well and good, but really you end up feeling as hungry as you did before. Now when you have the book it's like being invited to the same steak and being able to eat it, knowing is cooked superbly by an expert that you trust and not only that but they tell you what they are doing and why they are doing it.This means when you get it you enjoy every mouthful you take, savouring its delights and are left completely satisfied afterwards.This very much is what this book is, brain food that delights and is totally satisfying and leaves you full.
Alice doesn't just give out the "big words" that have you reaching for a dictionary (do people still use them) or the internet to understand them, she does that for you. She explains what the "big words" mean and in many cases how to pronounce them. (she also does this with place names or peoples names that may be difficult as well). She explains time scales for you in a way that I found particularly helpful, all of which mean that you can follow the narrative as it goes along. Most of this is covered in the introduction and that enables you to follow the Incredible story all the way through.
Each of the parts: African Origins, Foot Prints of the Ancestors: From India to Australia, Reindeer to Rice: The Peopling of North and East Asia, The Wild West: The Colonisation of Europe and finally The New World: Find the First Americans, fit together beautifully and could not have been done in any other order. Each section and subsection has you thinking and many times I found myself re-reading things to fully understand them. In reality this is not something you want to rush, for it you did, you miss out something. I must admit I was left in awe of our ancestors at the end.
Alice doesn't put her personal views on things, but questions the evidence as we would and hears from all sides, leaving us the reader to decide which is the most logical based on the facts. Having sad that, I loved the travelogue aspect of this as Alice was following the story along she does give personal insights about that. This only adds to the book without taking anything away.
I won't pretend that this is a book for everyone, as (forgive the pun) it is a meaty read, but for those who love history and want to know our beginnings this is the book for you. For not only are we taken way back, but we are left questioning if there is much more to find and where will it end and will we be our own cause of instinction?
For me this is the Rib Eye steak that I wanted having seen the menu and I loved every mouthful of as it left me full and satisfied. So thank you Alice for it and now I look forward to my 3rd helping when your next book comes out later in the year.