The Domestication of the Human Species

Peter J. Wilson

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In the exciting book Peter J. Wilson takes domestication as the starting point for his continued inquiry into human evolution. Wilson argues that settling down into a built environment was the most radical and far-reaching innovation in human development and that it had a crucial effect on human psychology and social relations. The insights of this book point the way toward amendments to social theories that will challenge the professional reader and at the same time offer to the general reader an enriched understanding of human behavior and human history. 
“This book is a rare occurrence: a total rethinking of a set of closely related fundamental problems in the understanding of human evolution….[An] immensely ambitious undertaking.”—Paul Wheatley, Contemporary Sociology
“This approach merges societies in surprising ways….It certainly leads to some provocative and stimulating generalizations.”—John Bodley, American journal of Physical Anthropology
“Perhaps this book is revolutionary…asking us to rethink human nature, its causes, its cures…It holds out the real possibilities of redoing the human condition by reconceptualizing the power of our environs….[Wilson] has given is a book that is hard to put down once begun, and one whose ideas are even harder to dismiss.”—Harvey B. Sarles, Contemporary Psychology
“This is definitely a book on which to sharpen one’s wits….The author invites the reader to think with him about matters not only past but also present which have much relevance for our future. This book makes lively and mind-stretching reading.”—Ashley Montagu

Peter J. Wilson, professor of anthropology at the University of Otago, New Zealand, is also the author of Man, The Promising Primate: The Conditions of Human Evolution.

"A fascinating perspective on human evolution that views the erection of permanent settlements at the end of the latest Ice Age as the most significant event in human history."—Virginia C. Maiorana, Evolutionary Theory and Review

"Professor Wilson considers that the role of architecture has been underrated in many presentations of social theories. In a well documented and keenly argued exposition, he presents his own rather unorthodox view that the step make by mankind when settling into buildings comprising the first villages was as decisive for the development of future human behaviour and the evolution of social relationships as the earlier descent of pre-hominids from an arboreal way of life. . . . Professor Wilson reinforces our ideas that stones can talk and history lies visible to those who can interpret it."—Jill Abery, Society for Interdisciplinary Studies


"Sweeping, speculative history at its most provocative and stimulating. He has given us a book that is hard to put down once begun, and one whose ideas are even harder to dismiss."—Harvey B. Sarles, Contemporary Psychology

"Wilson’s insightful and engaging volume poses the question: What are the social consequences of sedentary life? The trail of discussion down which this question leads him and down which he in turn leads the reader is both fascinating and productive. . . . Wilson’s study is both concise and far-reaching and will provide an important new stimulus to anthropologists interested in the origins and evolution of houses and house-life and their implications for the understanding of human society."—Michael Blake, Anthropologica


"This book is a rare occurrence: a total rethinking of a set of closely related fundamental problems in the understanding of human evolution. . . . Immensely ambitious undertaking. . . . I find the overall thesis to be a convincing demonstration of one important way in which culture has exerted a radical influence on biological adaptation. In any case, the author has summoned his colleagues to reflection. His book is not the end of an inquiry but a challenging beginning."—Paul Wheatley, Contemporary Sociology

"Well written, entertaining, provocative, and authoritative"—Choice

"This is definitely a book on which to sharpen one’s wits. Wilson is interested in discovering the conditions which led to, and the consequences which resulted from, people living in houses grouped together in hamlets, villages, and small towns, as contrasted with those who live in temporary dwellings or none at all. The author invites the reader to think with him about matters not only past, but also present which have much relevance for our future. This book makes lively and mind-stretching reading."—Ashley Montagu
ISBN: 9780300050325
Publication Date: January 23, 1991
201 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Man, The Promising Primate

The Conditions of Human Evolution, Second edition

Peter J. Wilson

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