Ideas. A History from Fire to Freud. - Peter Watson
Ideas100
I have to confess here that this is not a review, rather a preview. This looks like a fabulous book and I’ve added it here to encourage like minded souls to get hold of a copy without waiting for me to read it. It runs to over 750 large pages so it could take me a little time.

For anyone interested in the real development of ideas and their spread and adoption this looks like a ‘must read’ and I’d love to hear from anyone else who has read it.

A review will follow - but for the moment this is an extract from the dust jacket.

In this hugely ambitious and stimulating book, Peter Watson describes the history of ideas from deep antiquity to the present day, leading to a new understanding of our world and ourselves.

The narrative begins nearly two million years ago with the invention of hand-axes and explores how some of our most cherished notions might have originated before humans had language. Then in a broad sweep, the book moves forwards to consider, not politics, not the battles and treaties of kings, generals and prime ministers, but how the most important ideas by which we live have evolved, those which separate us from animals... He explains how numbers were conceived, how science, medicine, sociology, economics and capitalism came into being. He shows how the discovery of the New World changed for ever the way we think, and why Chinese creativity faded after the Middle Ages.

Steve Unwin
September 2008