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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans » User review

An enjoyable read even if it doesn't sparkle!

  • Sep 10, 2010
"Cro-Magnon" may be categorized as a brief history of human pre-history, at least that portion of the world's pre-history that was peopled by what anthropologists call "modern" man - from 150,000 years ago up to approximately 12,000 years ago. Of course, modern science now tells us that man came in two flavours - Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal - two species that were definitely genetically different and, almost certainly, sexually incompatible.

"Cro-Magnon" suffers from a rather drab exposition style and won't win any literary awards for its ability to compel readers to breathlessly turn pages at high speed. But, that said, for any lay readers interested in human paleontology and cultural anthropology, "Cro-Magnon" is certainly interesting and informative and touches on a wide variety of topics - weaponry, technology, art, culture, migration, population, the harsh living conditions caused by the rapid ebb and flow of ice ages and, of course, the slow but steady extinction of the Neanderthal and the rise of modern Cro-Magnon, now known as Homo Sapiens to the top of the world food chain.

Definitely recommended for the non-scientific amateur that wishes he could someday be part of an archeological dig! I chuckled as I realized that this book gave me new insight into the insult felt by Geico "cave man" as everyone around him impugned his intelligence.

Paul Weiss

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September 10, 2010
Paul, nice review, I will have to check this out.
September 10, 2010
Thanks. I'll look forward to your take on it as well.
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Quick Tip by . September 10, 2010
A fascinating look into the rise of modern man and the demise of competing Neanderthals in Ice Age Europe from 150,000 to 12,000 years ago. Definitely worth a look-see for those of us that enjoy cultural anthropology.
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Paul Weiss ()
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   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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“[A] fascinating account…Fagan’s narratives of cave-painting and hunting – among other anecdotes – really bring this history-laden book to life.”Green Life blog, Sierra Magazine

“Archaeology contributing editor Brian Fagan provides readers with intimate accounts of what he imagines Ice Age life was like for both the vanishing Neanderthals and the invading Homo sapiens who developed the basis of modern culture. He lauds the ‘endless ingenuity and adaptability’ of ordinary men and women living in bitterly cold Paleolithic Europe. ‘My DNA tells me that, genetically, I’m one of them,’ Fagan concludes, ‘and I’m proud of it.’”—Archaeology (Editors’ Pick)

“Fagan provides readers with a fascinating discussion of the lifestyle of Neanderthals and early modern humans… In bringing these ancient human societies to life, Fagan combines an engaging narrative style with a well-written and easily understood scholarly discussion…an excellent resource.”—National Speleological Society newsletter


“Highly entertaining and instructive…[Fagan] does an admirable job in bringing vividly to life the Europe of between eighty and ten thousand years ago… Fagan's book has been overtaken by the onward progress of his science—this happens to lots of such books—and there are aspects of his case that invite debate. But it is an ...

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ISBN-10: 159691582X
ISBN-13: 978-1596915824
Author: Brian Fagan
Genre: History, Nonfiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury Press
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