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The First North Americans: An Archaeological Journey

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  35 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
This new history of North America is based mainly on archaeology, but also on cutting-edge research in many scientific disciplines, from biology and climatology to ethnohistory and high-tech chemistry and physics. Brian Fagan describes the controversies over first settlement, which likely occurred via Siberia at the end of the Ice Age, and the debates over the routes used ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Thames & Hudson (first published 1990)
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Don
Jan 18, 2015 Don rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, own
OK, this is probably my bad for selecting this... but Brian Fagan pretty well mailed this one in. He writes in the preface, "I wrote this book in the belief that the time was ripe for a short, narrative account of ancient North America..." Yet, the book never really narrates much of anything beyond a succession of declarative statements of what and when, while declining to delve into any meaningful who, why, and how. He also suggests that there are a lot of new discoveries and interpretations in ...more
Harold
Oct 17, 2015 Harold rated it it was ok
This book was well organized and highly informative, but also a crushing bore that took me forever to get through. A dry, lengthy compendium of names, dates, and locations - this is the type of stuff that turns people off from the study of history altogether.
MikeFromQueens
Aug 11, 2011 MikeFromQueens rated it liked it
I like the book a great deal for it's thoroughness and portrayal of the life and times of the first North Americans. It was great at revealing details of such deeply-rooted concepts, such as clovis points and maize farming. At the same time, I realized during the second half of the book that I was more interested in some specific groups, and not others - so it was easy for me to find my way to just those chapters for silo reading. And that is the only reason I did not rate this book higher: it i ...more
Ryan Mishap
Decent overview of the current views on the history of people in North America (although he doesn't include Mexico, strangely).

While it is fascinating how archaeologists and other scientists can stitch together stories from bits and pieces, it's frustrating the number times I read "Nobody knows..." or "perhaps they did this because...." Still, intriguing glimpses of the lives people lead for the last 15,000 years.
Bill Kubeck
Jun 30, 2011 Bill Kubeck rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview of everything we know right now about the settlement of North America, from the first people to cross the Bering land bridge over 15,000 years ago, through to contact with the Europeans who came from the other direction.
HBalikov
Jul 12, 2011 HBalikov rated it liked it
Fascinating, well-researched and suitable for the lay reader. Recent discoveries indicate some real mysteries as to when North America was first explored and settled.
Patricrk patrick
Jul 22, 2011 Patricrk patrick rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
pretty dry written with general reader in mind but really only for those who have a deep interest in the subject to begin with.
David
Jun 29, 2011 David rated it really liked it
Slower going than I expected. Interesting overview of areas that I am not that familiar with.
Dave Schey
Mar 12, 2013 Dave Schey rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A very basic introduction to the peopling of North America. The photos and figures are great!
Jack
Dec 11, 2011 Jack added it
I did not finish it.
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Brian Murray Fagan (born 1 August 1936) is a prolific author of popular archaeology books and a professor emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA. Fagan was born in England where he received his childhood education at Rugby School. He attended Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he studied archaeology and anthropology (BA 1959, MA 1962, PhD 1965). ...more
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