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The Invention of Yesterday: A 50,000-Year History of Human Culture, Conflict, and Connection

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Author: Tamim Ansary

From language to culture to cultural collision: the story of how humans invented history, from the Stone Age to the Virtual Age
Traveling across millennia, weaving the experiences and world views of cultures both extinct and extant, The Invention of Yesterday shows that the engine of history is not so much heroic (battles won), geographic (farmers thrive), or anthropogenic (humans change the planet) as it is narrative.
Many thousands of years ago, when we existed only as countless small autonomous bands of hunter-gatherers widely distributed through the wilderness, we began inventing stories--to organize for survival, to find purpose and meaning, to explain the unfathomable. Ultimately these became the basis for empires, civilizations, and cultures. And when various narratives began to collide and overlap, the encounters produced everything from confusion, chaos, and war to cultural efflorescence, religious awakenings, and intellectual breakthroughs.
Through vivid stories studded with insights, Tamim Ansary illuminates the world-historical consequences of the unique human capacity to invent and communicate abstract ideas. In doing so, he also explains our ever-more-intertwined present: the narratives now shaping us, the reasons we still battle one another, and the future we may yet create.

Publisher: PublicAffairs
Published: 10/01/2019
Pages: 448
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.55lbs
Size: 9.50h x 6.40w x 1.60d
ISBN: 9781610397964

Review Citation(s):
Kirkus Reviews 08/15/2019
Library Journal 08/09/2019 pg. 1
Publishers Weekly 08/19/2019
Booklist 09/01/2019 pg. 34

About the Author
Tamim Ansary is the author of Destiny Disrupted and Games without Rules, among other books. For ten years he wrote a monthly column for Encarta.com, and has published essays and commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Alternet, TomPaine.com, Edutopia, Parade, Los Angeles Times, and elsewhere. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Bill Moyers, PBS The News Hour, Al Jazeera, and NPR. Born in Afghanistan in 1948, he moved to the U.S. in 1964. He lives in San Francisco.