5th out of 20 books — 2 voters
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Keeping Together in Time
Could something as simple and seemingly natural as falling into step have marked us for evolutionary success? In "Keeping Together in Time" one of the most widely read and respected historians in America pursues the possibility that coordinated rhythmic movement--and the shared feelings it evokes--has been a powerful force in holding human groups together.As he has done ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published October 30th 1997 by Harvard University Press
(first published 1995)
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I was glad to track down a copy of this fascinating academic book through the American Council of Learning Societies print on demand service. This sliver of a book somehow manages to capture the importance of dance and drill through human history. McNeill draws on chimpanzee behaviour, dance in religious ceremonies, Greek phalanxes, Nazi Germany and Japanese callisthenics to support his thesis: 'Moving our muscles rhythmically and giving voice consolidate group solidarity by altering human ...more
The idea is great and the thesis is interesting but such a sad fact that at least in the religious aspect he is mostly quoting quasi science or then adding up quotes and ideas from different times and places that just can't be generalized in this manner if one wants to be a "real" academic/reseacher. Further more, the fact that he starts of from evolutionary theory and never seems to move much further then that just makes the thesis even more lacking in credibility. It stays mostly speculative ...more
A fun, thought-provoking book that sees profound significance in Maurice of Orange's early modern military drill manual, dances, and various other practices and artifacts involving synchronized or simultaneous movement by groups of people. As in virtually all books of such a broad scope and sweeping statements, it not difficult to find points with which to quarrel. But it nonetheless gives the reader plenty to think about.
aka William William Hardy McNeill is a Canadian-American world historian and author, particularly noted for his writings on Western civilization. He is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Chicago where he has taught since 1947.More about William Hardy McNeill...