Pulitzer Prize—winning environmental historian Jared Diamond, fresh from his current bestselling triumph with Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, is moving far back in time to study the most primitive human societies in his next book, just signed by his Viking editor, Wendy Wolf. It's called The World Until Yesterday: A History of Pre-History, and draws on Diamond's study of New Guinea's remaining primitive peoples, as well as many similar tribes throughout history, to look at the period when humans were simply hunters and gatherers, with little or no social organization or communication skills. Only in the last 7,000 years, says Diamond, with the rise of the nation state, have recognizable societies begun to flourish. The deal, for North American and first serial rights, was made with agent John Brockman.
Volume 252 Issue 10 03/07/2005