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March 24, 2013

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Books



  • We are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn from it, but how are we affected by the forces that are invisible to us? In The Invisible History of the Human Race Christine Kenneally draws on cutting-edge research to reveal how both historical artifacts and DNA tell us where we come from and where we may be going. From fateful, ancient encounters to modern mass migrations and medical diagnoses, Kenneally explains how the forces that shaped the history of the world ultimately shape each human who inhabits it.
  • AMAZON
  • AMAZON UK
  • BARNES & NOBLE
  • POWELL'S


  • A Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, The First Word is about the quest for the origins of human language. Although language is a distinctly human gift, it leaves no permanent trace and its evolution has long been a mystery. It is only in the last fifteen years that we have begun to understand how language came into being. The First Word follows two intertwined narratives. The first is an account of how the random and layered processes of evolution wound together to produce a talking animal: us. The second addresses why language evolution was considered a scientific taboo for more than a hundred years and why scientists are at last able to explore the subject.
  • AMAZON
  • AMAZON UK
  • BARNES & NOBLE
  • POWELL'S

Penguin 75


  • The cover of The First Word is featured in "Penguin 75."

REVIEWS

  • from THE JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY
    "The task she has undertaken... is formidable. Kenneally does it very well."
  • from NEUROLOGY TODAY
    "In addition to its astonishing breadth, this book is up to date, educational, and entertaining."
  • from AMERICAN SCIENTIST
    "...a lucid, readable, comprehensive account."
  • from THE FINANCIAL TIMES
    "[An] admirably serious update on the [language evolution] debate."
  • from THE NEW YORKER
    "[An] accessible account... including many provocative findings."
  • from THE BOSTON GLOBE
    "Kenneally's reporting and interpretation of this research, whose implications for the study of language and human nature are immense, occupy center stage in 'The First Word' and generate real excitement on the page."
  • from THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER
    "...a cogent and often compelling account... As Kenneally dissects each scholar's theory, a wonderful evolution occurs on the pages: She explains, understatedly, what it means to be part of human nature."
  • from SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
    "...an elegant exposition."
  • from THE NEW YORK TIMES
    [A] lucid survey of this expanding field... covers an enormous expanse of ground as she brings the reader up to date on developments in a wide variety of disciplines touching on language evolution... explains difficult ideas concisely and clearly... scrupulously fair-minded... zeroes in on a host of fascinating experiments.
  • from THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
    "[The] scientists who study the origins of language are a passionate, fractious bunch, and you don’t have to be an egghead to be tantalized by the questions that drive their research: how and when did we learn to speak, and to what extent is language a uniquely human attribute?... Much of what [Kenneally] describes is fascinating."

Book list picks

Advance praise

  • Steven Pinker
    "A clear and splendidly written account of a new field of research on a central question about the human species."
  • Steven Johnson
    "'The First Word' is a rare and delightful mix: both a probing exploration of one of the great remaining mysteries of life, and a riveting story of the battles and breakthroughs that drive scientific progress."

CHRISTINE KENNEALLY

  • Christine Kenneally is an award-winning journalist and author who has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Slate, Time, New Scientist, The Monthly, and other publications. Her books, The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures and The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, are published by Viking Penguin. Before becoming a reporter, she received a Ph.D. in linguistics from Cambridge University and a B.A. (Hons) in English and Linguistics from Melbourne University. She was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, and has lived in England, Iowa, and Brooklyn, New York (ckenneally at ckenneally dot com). She is currently a contributing editor for Buzzfeed News.

Best Australian Science Writing 2012


Best Australian Science Writing 2011

Best Australian Essays: A Ten Year Collection


Best Australian Essays 2010

RECENT JOURNALISM

Time

The Monthly

Slate

The New Yorker

Bookforum

  • The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
    It seems foolish, if not downright irresponsible to feel good about the future in 2010. The disasters of the last decade piled up fast, and apocalyptic fear is now a standard ingredient in the morning commute. But what should one prepare for first? September 11-style attacks, oil spills, climate change, the death of languages, the last days of the polar bears, or the dark, multifarious effects of globalization?

New Scientist

Washington Post

© 2007 Christine Kenneally. All Rights Reserved.

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