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The origin of the Europeans

Stephen Oppenheimer’s book “Out of Eden” is a brilliant account of the way in which a small band of African migrants populated the rest of the world, starting about 85,000 years ago. Oppenheimer also argues for the theory that the Cro-Magnons, who were the first modern Europeans (the Neanderthals were here first, of course), were an offshoot from the initial exodus, which took place across the south of the Red Sea.

This theory is a reaction against what Oppenheimer sees as Eurocentricism. There has been a tendency to see Europe as the source of the modern consciousness, the cradle of art and technology. But if Oppenheimer is right Europe simply inherited what had already been developed in Africa.

This is a fascinating book, one of the best and most readable accounts of human origins I have found.Read the review.

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