An Edible History of Humanity (Audiobook) [DNF] -

An Edible History of Humanity - Tom Standage, George K. Wilson


This was...horrible. I don't know that I can put into words how I feel about this book, though I've tried during rants to three different people about (eye twitch)


So sorry, but you're the fourth (fifth, sixth, etc). Hopefully by now I have things lined out in a somewhat understandable way.


I knew going in that this was going to be expansive with little chance to get really in depth into anything (or so I thought, more on that later). Handled correctly, books like this can be great jumping off places and have led me to many other great reads. Handled less adeptly, they come off as bland and boring. This one was sadly the later, made even worse by a narrator who bordered on monotone and who made me work to stay focused. Great start. 


But it was the two hours (of a ten+ hour book) spent eulogizing on how wondrous hunter-gatherer society was. Now, I can overlook that in small doses but the length of the discussion, especially considering how much was left to cover, was the beginning of the end. The "fact" that hunter-gatherers didn't work a full week (I swear he said at or less than half a week - I've desperately tried to forget) was the final nail in the coffin and I was done. 


If this is what his facts and evidence were going to be, I couldn't trust this book and wanted no part of it.


Because (and while some of this is my opinion, it's based on facts I've learned and common sense), hunter-gatherer society is not pretty rainbows. I don't care how much you want that to be, it's not. While some food could be stored, it was a constant battle to feed and provide for a group of people. If you were not "profitable" to the community, your life meant nothing except in certain cultures and at certain times because it was just too hard to take care of everyone. It's an unforgiving life with little chance to specialize, grow, develop, and build a civilization. The idea that the average hunter didn't work every day is laughable. Oh, he may not have hunted every single day but he worked, believe me.


Civilization, agriculture, etc. have not been perfect, everyone can agree on that, but they have given us better life expectancies, the ability for people who are not physically, mentally, or emotionally "perfect" the chance to thrive in their own way, great discoveries, written language, remembered history, and thus the chance for this author to write and us to read their book.


...on second thought, maybe civilization isn't so great after all.