Human history and going back in time

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Origins: An Atlas of human migration


Russell King  (General editor)



What it says on the back cover

From the earliest journeys of our prehistoric ancestors to today’s global population shifts, migration remains a constant thread running through the tapestry of human history. As people migrate in pursuit of a better life, their ideas and culture travel with them, making migration a major factor in the history of civilization.

This book covers:

  • Causes and effects of human migrations
  • Prehistoric migrations
  • Traditional migration routes
  • Conquests and expansions of Roman, Barbarian, Viking, Mongol and Arab populations
  • Colonisation, convicts and slaves
  • Industralisation, famine, war, persecution, economic collapse
  • Migration around the world including Africa, Israel, the Eastern Bloc, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, and North America
  • Future mass-movements of humans

What made me pick up the book?

As a student studying Social Science I have covered a variety of different topics over the last few years that have drawn my attention to the way the world operates and the people that inhabit it. I am fascinated by culture as I am with food and if it is possible, maybe one day I may write my own recipe book which I can combine both topics into a book of my own.

This book, which I got out from my local library is jammed packed with stunning photography and is an excellent reference which introduces its readers to the history of human migration. It opens us to the world where many countries have become homes to the movement of people that travel from one place to settle into a diaspora which moves from its original homeland “in search of a different and better way of life”  (King, 2007).

Having lived in two other countries (Australia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) which are somewhat different to my motherland New Zealand, I have been an expatriate in search of something different and unique. I appreciate this book and what it has to offer its readers.

About the book

To call this book an atlas is not quite true, whilst it covers the geographical countries around the world, it is a book which links people to places in the form of photography and an extensive look at how people are on the move. People migrate for many reasons, some move on a voluntary basis and others are involuntary.  Origins is a comprehensive book made up of thirty years of research which King has studied from the very beginning to the modern world.

Made up of seven chapters, Origins takes us on a journey through time giving us an introduction of how the world moves, how it all started by taking a look at the first humans began to colonise in East Africa starting from the Nomadic Ape approximately  125,000 years ago.  Beautifully photographed and well researched Origins is a book worth reading if you are keen on history and migration.

Is this book worth buying

Origins is an excellent book with attention to detail and a through chronological table on the first migrants right through to 2005 when terrorism hit the United Kingdom in London, in time this book may be revised and updated as it continues to move through the years.

My interests were on the chapter “The Middle Passage” which reflects on the slavery of the African tribes who were sent out to the United States and beyond where they were bought and sold to work on plantations and in service to the white people for an assignment I covered recently. I have since renewed the book and are currently reading the sections that I did not cover before which I used for my assignment. A well thought out book and great for those that have an interest in geography, the Social Sciences, migration, travel and culture.

” The act of migration did not cease once humankind had spread around the globe. Peoples continued to uproot themselves from time to time and move to other lands, but there are many gaps in our knowledge of these ancient peregrinations. By examining the commonalities in many of the world’s languages, linguists have determined the commonalities in many of the world’s European people…” (King, 2007).

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