As We Know It | Granta

  • Published: 17/08/2000
  • ISBN: 9781862073685
  • 127x20mm
  • 336 pages

As We Know It

Marek Kohn

As We Know It is an account of how the human mind has evolved. It is a theory of mind: it tells us how our immediate ancestors might have thought and seen the world in the absence of language, gods or culture. Marek Kohn relates that ancient heritage to our humanity and examines the influence of our hominid past on our own behaviour, as creatures who speak, symbolize and create. Central to the book is a meditation on the handaxe, crafted again and again for hundreds of thousands of years by our proto-human ancestors. In his reconstruction of the uses and meaning of the handaxe, Kohn takes us into an alien world that is strangely close to our own. This is a work of sociobiology insofar as it applies Darwinism to human culture. Unlike almost all works of ‘evolutionary psychology’, however, it seeks to recapture Darwinism from the political right and to show that a better understanding of our evolutionary history need not lead to an imposing of limits on who we are and what we may become.

Utterly fascinating ... a beautiful and moving picture of evolution

Andrew Marr, Observer

Beautifully captures the state of play ... Kohn has proved once more that he is a fine commentator on science

Colin Tudge, New Statesman

This is a model science writing: clear, conscientious and exciting, showing both what we know and what we don't ... Anyone interested in human evolution should read it

Andrew Brown, Independent

The Author

Marek Kohn is the author of several books, including Dope Girls: The Birth of the British Drug Underground, The Race Gallery and As We Know it. He lives in Brighton with his family.

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From the Same Author

Dope Girls

A drug panic. Murder. Terrifying and mysterious black and Chinese immigrants. Dope Kings. Jazz. War. An actress dead of an overdose. Dope Girls is about the transformation of drug use into a national menace. It revolves around the death in 1918, in the last furious stages of the First World War, of Billie Carleton, a West End-musical actress. Its cast of characters includes Brilliant Chang, a Chinese restaurant proprietor, and Edgar Manning, a jazz drummer from Jamaica. Around them, in the streets off Shaftesbury Avenue and in Chinatown, swirled a raffish group of seedy and rebellious hedonists. And so the drug problem was born amid a gush of exotic tabloid detail.