I spent the last week reading “Pandora’s Seed: The Unforseen Cost of Civilization” by the National Geographic Society’s Explorer-in-Residence Spencer Wells, and I was thoroughly disappointed.
I’m guessing that if it was a reader’s very first introduction to the disasters caused by the Neolithic Revolution — hierarchy, stress, planet destruction — then perhaps some of the chapters would be of value. But for the many who have studied this topic for a long time, including a couple of mentions on this blog, this was little more than a recap.
There was too much of the Sunday supplement style of writing, describing flights to exotic locales, cab journeys, and the minutia of other scientists’ looks. I sometimes thought I was reading the lead-in to a People profile. He did have the occasional good line; perhaps the best of which correctly describes agriculture as “a virus, expanding in influence despite its negative effects on human health.”
But this was generally too shallow a dive for me.