A dissection of civilization from the advent of farming to the present day.
In this updated version of a previously published volume, Taylor (Projectile Points of the High Plains, 2006) makes a heartfelt plea to save the planet from its most avaricious predators: humans. He aims to present “a number of unorthodox viewpoints and perspectives” for consideration in the hope of shaking readers up enough to fight for change—in government, culture, resource management, corporate power and even religion. Much of the book covers familiar territory; for example, environmentalists will have little quarrel with Taylor’s extensive list of ways in which man has squandered the Earth’s natural treasures. Many readers will also cheer his teardown of government misdeeds and deceptions and his critique of the influence that large corporations have over our lives. But Taylor also explores other intriguing threads to tie his arguments together. The first is agriculture, which Taylor identifies as the beginning of “artificial civilization” and to which he traces the rise of avarice, land plunder, overpopulation and war. The second is the development of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Although he acknowledges that there are a plethora of other organized religions, he focuses on these because they’re currently “the most influential and confrontational” ones. He does compellingly detail organized religion’s negative influences, but he unfortunately spends too much time arguing that biblical literalism is logically absurd and not enough exploring how man’s need for spiritual and philosophical direction might be channeled more productively. Overall, however, he delivers an ambitious compendium that challenges readers to proactively and creatively reshape their thinking for the sake of future generations.
A fiery, well-argued plea for social change.