The Story of the Human Body by Daniel Lieberman
Evolution, Health, and Disease

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

Readers have likely heard this song before but perhaps not so exhaustively and well-referenced as in Lieberman’s opus. Would that industry and governments take heed.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman—chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a leader in the field—gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years, even as it shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern world is occasioning this paradox: greater longevity but increased chronic disease.
 
The Story of the Human Body brilliantly illuminates as never before the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the rise of bipedalism; the shift to a non-fruit-based diet; the advent of hunting and gathering, leading to our superlative endurance athleticism; the development of a very large brain; and the incipience of cultural proficiencies. Lieberman also elucidates how cultural evolution differs from biological evolution, and how our bodies were further transformed during the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions.
 
While these ongoing changes have brought about many benefits, they have also created conditions to which our bodies are not entirely adapted, Lieberman argues, resulting in the growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Lieberman proposes that many of these chronic illnesses persist and in some cases are intensifying because of “dysevolution,” a pernicious dynamic whereby only the symptoms rather than the causes of these maladies are treated. And finally—provocatively—he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes even compel us to create a more salubrious environment.

(With charts and line drawings throughout.)
 

About Daniel Lieberman

See more books from this Author
Daniel Lieberman is professor of Human Evolutionary Biology, and the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences, at Harvard. He has written more than one hundred articles, many appearing in the journals Nature and Science. He is especially well known for his research on the evolution of the human head, and on the evolution of running, including barefoot running (earning him the nickname the Barefoot Professor). His research and discoveries have been highlighted widely in newspapers, magazines, books, news programs, and documentaries.


Author Residence: Cambridge, Massachussetts
 
Published October 1, 2013 by Vintage. 481 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for The Story of the Human Body
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Aug 04 2013

Readers have likely heard this song before but perhaps not so exhaustively and well-referenced as in Lieberman’s opus. Would that industry and governments take heed.

Read Full Review of The Story of the Human Body: ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jul 29 2013

Lieberman’s discussion of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer are as clear as any yet published, and he offers a well-articulated case for why an evolutionary perspective can greatly enrich the practice of medicine.

Read Full Review of The Story of the Human Body: ... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by John Hawks on Dec 12 2013

In "The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease," Daniel Lieberman recounts this history along with dozens of "mismatches" in which today's environment differs from those of our ancestors, with unfortunate consequences, from diabetes to fallen arches.

Read Full Review of The Story of the Human Body: ... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Reader Rating for The Story of the Human Body
87%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 363 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×