The Human Story

I just finished reading James C. Davis’s “The Human Story: Our History, From the Stone Age to Today.” Paging back through, I’m noticing these:

“Deep inside [the caves] modern-day explorers sometimes come on footprints left by children running barefoot who made a point of splashing through the puddles.” (pg. 4)

“One day the hunters find a valley, open only at one end, where they can hold the sheep. To take this step means settling down, for a while at least.” (pg. 11)

“The Bible gave these former nomads, who now were needy peasants in Palestine, what Egyptians and the people of the Tigris and Euphrates lacked: a memory.” (pg. 45)

“As well as vast amounts of evil, the conquerors did some good.” (pg. 106)

“Bishops were so involved in politics that they often fought in battles. When they did they carried
maces instead of swords, because, as clerics, they were not allowed to spill blood but could freely shatter skulls.” (pg. 129)

“As they sailed along the coast, the Europeans sometimes glimpsed the native folk, the Aborigines.
As the ship sailed by, the Aborigines would gaze out at it and then look away, dismissing it as too monstrous to be understood.” (pg. 165)

“When the ruler came to the wedding he discovered that the Aztecs had honored him by sacrificing his daughter to their gods.” (pg. 172)

“The Church’s leading theologian talked with Galileo in Rome and gently warned him that it was all right to discuss the sun-centered universe ‘hypothetically.’” (pg. 204)

“Indians would fare no better.” (pg. 223)

“Wilbur pondered how to build a craft that flew with power of its own.” (pg. 274)

“Marx was arrogant and certain of his views, and he wearied of the wrangling Marxists. He called them 'rascals,’ 'louts,’ and 'bedbugs,’ and disgustedly he said, 'All I know is I’m not a Marxist.’” (pg. 298)

“However, it was found, the neutrons of one atom can be made to break the nucleus of another, and
this will free a huge amount of the energy that holds the nucleus together.” (pg. 342)

“German soldiers in the camps took photographs and told their families what they saw and did.” (pg. 348)

“(A high U.S. military official declared that Americans could survive in such a war if they would 'dig a hole, cover it with a couple of doors, and then throw three feet of dirt on top.’”) (pg. 410)

“A writer for Popular Mechanics magazine speculated hopefully in 1949 that the computer might shrink one day to the size of a car.” (pg. 422)

“How much we, the human race, had learned about ourselves in just a hundred years! During a little fraction of our total time on earth so far, Darwin and a host of others had discovered how we and other species had evolved. Mendel and others had learned that genes inside our cells control our traits. Now Crick and Watson (building on the work of others) had described the molecule that holds the blueprint for maintaining life.” (pg. 438)

The book is recommended. Certainly cursory, but very readable. And it’s fun to be in the company of a single author who’s trying to tell you this great big story.