Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress

Avid Reader: S. & S. Oct. 2019. 304p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781451659108. $28; pap. ISBN 9781982135652. $18; ebk. ISBN 9781451659122. ANTHRO
As humans sprint at an alarming speed toward newer notions of social progress, technological achievement, and economic development, there is the ever-lingering question: What is the cost of all of this growth? With this in mind, journalist Ryan (Sex at Dawn) explores various aspects of the uniqueness of the human evolutionary experience. Using a wide variety of both primary and secondary resources for his research, Ryan illustrates specific scenarios in which people have proven themselves capable of adapting to the strangest changes in their surroundings, and how that adaptation usually comes at the expense of the natural environment. He then moves the conversation through time, starting with prehistory and going forward, to present a look at his perspective on the future of humanity. Within this context, Ryan compares what humans need from an evolutionary standpoint with the less natural environments that we’ve created for ourselves today.
VERDICT Recommended for YA and adult readers with an interest in cultural anthropology, current events, and apocalyptic social perspectives.

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