An informative, breathless sprint through the evolution and consequences of human development.



The professor and popular historian expands the reach of his internationally bestselling work with the launch of a graphic nonfiction series.

In a manner that is both playful and provocative, Harari teams with co-creators adept at the graphic format to enliven his academic studies. Here, a cartoon version of the professor takes other characters (and readers) on something of a madcap thrill ride through the history of human evolution, with a timeline that begins almost 14 billion years ago and extends into the future, when humanity becomes the defendant in “Ecosystem vs. Homo Sapiens,” a trial presided over by “Judge Gaia.” As Harari and his fellow time travelers visit with other academics and a variety of species, the vivid illustrations by Casaneve and colorist Champion bring the lessons of history into living color, and Vandermeulen helps condense Harari’s complex insights while sustaining narrative momentum. The text and illustrations herald evolution as “the greatest show on earth” while showing how only one of “six different human species” managed to emerge atop the food chain. While the Homo sapiens were not nearly as large, strong, fast, or powerful as other species that suffered extinction, they were able to triumph due to their development of the abilities to cooperate, communicate, and, perhaps most important, tell and share stories. That storytelling ultimately encompasses fiction, myth, history, and spirituality, and the success of shared stories accounts for a wide variety of historical events and trends, including Christianity, the French Revolution, and the Third Reich. The narrative climaxes with a crime caper, as a serial-killing spree results in the extinction of so many species, and the “Supreme Court of the future” must rule on the case against Homo sapiens. Within those deliberations, it’s clear that not “being aware of the consequences of their actions” is not a valid excuse.

An informative, breathless sprint through the evolution and consequences of human development.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-305133-1

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.


The bad news: On any given outdoor expedition, you are your own worst enemy. The good news: If you are prepared, which this book helps you achieve, you might just live through it.

As MeatEater host and experienced outdoorsman Rinella notes, there are countless dangers attendant in going into mountains, woods, or deserts; he quotes journalist Wes Siler: “People have always managed to find stupid ways to die.” Avoiding stupid mistakes is the overarching point of Rinella’s latest book, full of provocative and helpful advice. One stupid way to die is not to have the proper equipment. There’s a complication built into the question, given that when humping gear into the outdoors, weight is always an issue. The author’s answer? “Build your gear list by prioritizing safety.” That entails having some means of communication, water, food, and shelter foremost and then adding on “extra shit.” As to that, he notes gravely, “a National Park Service geologist recently estimated that as much as 215,000 pounds of feces has been tossed haphazardly into crevasses along the climbing route on Denali National Park’s Kahiltna Glacier, where climbers melt snow for drinking water.” Ingesting fecal matter is a quick route to sickness, and Rinella adds, there are plenty of outdoorspeople who have no idea of how to keep their bodily wastes from ruining the scenery or poisoning the water supply. Throughout, the author provides precise information about wilderness first aid, ranging from irrigating wounds to applying arterial pressure to keeping someone experiencing a heart attack (a common event outdoors, given that so many people overexert without previous conditioning) alive. Some takeaways: Keep your crotch dry, don’t pitch a tent under a dead tree limb, walk side-hill across mountains, and “do not enter a marsh or swamp in flip-flops, and think twice before entering in strap-on sandals such as Tevas or Chacos.”

A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12969-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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A straightforward, carefully detailed presentation of how ``fruit comes from flowers,'' from winter's snow-covered buds through pollination and growth to ripening and harvest. Like the text, the illustrations are admirably clear and attractive, including the larger-than-life depiction of the parts of the flower at different stages. An excellent contribution to the solidly useful ``Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science'' series. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-06-020055-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1991

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