A review by Douglas K. Charles:
After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000–5000 B.C. Steven Mithen. 622 pp. Harvard University Press, 2004. $29.95.
After the Ice offers a fascinating whirlwind tour of an underappreciated segment of human history. Author Steven Mithen, professor of early prehistory and head of the School of Human and Environmental Sciences at the University of Reading, has created a complex, multilayered account of life from 20,000 to 5000 B.C., during the late Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods.
The seeming highlights of the rise of Homo sapiens are well-known: the appearance of anatomically modern Homo sapiens in Africa sometime around 150,000 years ago, and our species' subsequent expansion out of Africa; replacement of the Neandertals in Europe by Cro-Magnons; the production of the spectacular cave art that followed in the same region; and the domestication of plants and animals in the Near East, leading to writing and the first appearances of urban life. But this is not the story that Mithen tells ... American Scientist Online