The Great Divide by Peter, Illustrated by: Watson
Nature and Human Nature in the Old World and the New

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Exploring the development of humankindbetween the Old World and the New—from15,000 BC to AD 1500—the acclaimed authorof Ideas and The German Genius offers agroundbreaking new understandingof human history.

Why did Asia and Europe develop far earlierthan the Americas? What were thefactors that accelerated—or impeded—development? How did the experiences of OldWorld inhabitants differ from their New Worldcounterparts—and what factors influenced thosedifferences?

In this fascinating and erudite history, PeterWatson ponders these questions central to thehuman story. By 15,000 BC, humans had migratedfrom northeastern Asia across the frozen Beringland bridge to the Americas. When the worldwarmed up and the last Ice Age came to an end,the Bering Strait refilled with water, dividingAmerica from Eurasia. This division—with twogreat populations on Earth, each unaware of theother—continued until Christopher Columbusvoyaged to the New World in the fifteenth century.

The Great Divide compares the developmentof humankind in the Old World and the Newbetween 15,000 BC and AD 1500. Watson identifiesthree major differences between the twoworlds—climate, domesticable mammals, andhallucinogenic plants—that combined to producevery different trajectories of civilization in thetwo hemispheres. Combining the most up-to-dateknowledge in archaeology, anthropology, geology,meteorology, cosmology, and mythology, thisunprecedented, masterful study offers uniquelyrevealing insight into what it means to be human.


About Peter, Illustrated by: Watson

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Peter Watson is the author of War on the Mind, Wisdom and Strength, The Caravaggio Conspiracy, and other books. Educated at the universities of Durham, London, and Rome, he has written for the Sunday Times, the Times, the New York Times, the Observer, and the Spectator. He lives in London.
Published June 26, 2012 by Harper. 640 pages
Genres: History. Non-fiction

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Added to naturally occurring hallucinogenic and stimulant plants (rarer in the Old World), New World religions and ideology displayed a vivid, apocalyptic tone.

May 02 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great Divide: Nature and ...

Publishers Weekly

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Watson, a former senior editor at the London Sunday Times, explores the radically different cultures and fates of the Eastern and Western hemispheres in this sweeping comparative history from the last

Apr 30 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great Divide: Nature and ...


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Polymath Peter Watson’s latest work, The Great Divide: History and Human Nature in the Old World and the New, is a richly detailed and beautifully written account of how and why early human settlers in the Old World of Eurasia (Europe and Asia) developed different cultures to their counterparts w...

Jan 20 2012 | Read Full Review of The Great Divide: Nature and ...

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