Café Neandertal

Café Neandertal

Excavating Our Past in One of Europe's Most Ancient Places

Book - 2017
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A brilliant and captivating journey into the lands, research, and mysteries of the Neandertals--and what these exciting discoveries reveal about our own humanity Centered in the Dordogne region of southwestern France, one of Europe's most concentrated regions for Neandertal and early modern human occupations, writer Beebe Bahrami follows and participates in the work of archaeologists who are doing some of the most comprehensive and global work to date on the research, exploration, and recovery of our ancient ancestors. In Caf#65533; Neandertal , Bahrami follows this compelling riddle along a path populated with colorful local personalities and archaeologists working in remote and fascinating places across Eurasia, all the while maintaining a firm foothold in the Dordogne, a region celebrated by the local tourist office as a vacation destination for 400,000 years. Who were the Neandertals? Why did they disappear around 35,000 years ago? And more mysteriously, what connections do they share with us moderns?

Neck-deep in Neanderthal dirt, Bahrami takes us to the front row of the heated debates about our long-lost cousins. Caf#65533; Neandertal pulls us deeply into the complex mystery of the Neandertals, shedding a surprising light on what it means to be human.
Publisher: Berkeley, Calif. : Counterpoint, c2017
ISBN: 9781619027770
Branch Call Number: 569 .986 BAH
Characteristics: ix, 291 p. :,ill., maps ;,24 cm

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miaone
May 26, 2017

This book such a let down. The author had fascinating data to work with, and loses the reader by being such a poor writer. She wastes much time and space telling about the people she was working with in a manner that feels more like gossip than factual reporting: I took a nap then came downstairs to see the famous anthropologist taking another sip of wine (she makes sure to tell us what kind) and talking about when he was in yadadadada and did yadadadada, Then with barely a comma to separate it she moves on to anthropological discoveries made in Dordogne in the past few days, carries on for a looong time about a found tooth, then changes to things she did or thought or wished she'd done when she was in grad school or in Turkey or wherever, all in poorly and oddly written English. Maybe English is her second or third language; that might account for some of the bizarre syntax. But even so, she should have had a native speaker edit her work. It's hard to believe she makes her living as a journalist.
I had high hopes for this book, but was quickly disappointed.

m
mscardiglia
May 03, 2017

I stuck with this book for 140 or so of its 290 pages. I would estimate that maybe 1/3 of those 140 were actually about Neanderthal/Neandertal, and those parts were very insightful and science based. The rest of what I read was the personal travelogue of the author and this became tedious. The whole "I am walking were Neandertal walked, and picking the same plants" thing got really, really, old. She did a good job illuminating why parts of western Europe were hospitable to Neandertal, but I did not care for the long meandering sections about her personal feelings about the places. Your mileage may vary.

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