I wish I knew more about the history of our species, from the first small primate that leafed out on evolution’s new branch, really super detailed knowledge, from then until right now today, without the guessing or conjecture or rose colored glasses or slant or bias or suppression. Every migration, displacement, mutation, epidemic, natural disaster, famine, drought, discovery: the light-bulb going off for each invention!, every celebration, every truce, every development.
The dirt, the what and where of the dirt, under the fingernails of the first human to…. plant a seed.
That first litter of orphaned wolf cubs: what gang of youngsters lugged them back to the tribe and insisted on raising them: puleeeze, they’re so cute, they can chew on bones and they won’t be any trouble we promise!!!!
By what river did the first frustrated, fed-up girl weave reeds into a sling so she could carry her burdensome toddler sibling and keep up with her friends to pick the ripest berries? Was it in the same millennia that another human used a stone tool to cut a hide into a sling shape to do the same?
And what about the invention of lying? And I would like to see unfolding the history of Woad, that blue body dye the Picts wore to frighten the Roman soldiers invading the British Isles. Would I have run like hell when I saw them too? Was all the incredible effort that went in to extracting it freely given? Who exactly was doing all that extracting?
Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, Richard Bessel’s Germany 1945: From War to Peace, Louis Dupree’s Afghanistan and everything by Ahmed Rashid on Central Asia, James Workman’s Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought, Alison Gopnik’s The Philosophical Baby, Matt Ridley’s The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, biographies of Gandhi, Washington, Lincoln, Boudicca (the Celtic warrior queen), Julia Child…..
It just doesn’t matter how much reading I do, I can’t get close enough to satisfy my longing to know for myself the sum total of all human history. And don’t even get me started on the planet and the universe.