The Guardian of All Things: The Epic Story of Human Memory

Michael S. Malone. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-62031-8
“[T]he story of memory... is the story of freedom,” writes technology writer Malone (The Future Arrived Yesterday) in this sweeping and ambitious story. He traces the spread of memory and the ability to record memories from the individual to the tribe, to rulers and bureaucrats, to everyone—the “democratization of memory.” Conducting us on a tour of the development of human memory, Malone explains its forms and function, from Neanderthals, who, he speculates, had tremendous sensory capacity but no language to capture their perceptions for the future, to the invention of writing, which enabled societies to preserve memories; Cicero, who developed an art of memory so he could recall his long speeches; and the Middle Ages, when human memory functioned as a mechanism for selecting, translating, compiling, and interpreting newly rediscovered ancient knowledge. By the 21st century, humans have the capacity to control memory in ways previously unimaginable: through the use of computers and memory implants. Malone celebrates the power of memory and the freedom it provides us while at the same time cautioning us to guard our memories and protect the record of our time in the world. Agent: Jim Levine, Levin Greenberg Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/28/2012
Release date: 08/21/2012
Paperback - 290 pages - 978-1-250-02323-0
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-250-01492-4
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