150,000 years of human existence have passed, and yet what do we really know about our history before the advent of writing? Some of the most momentous events - including our origins, our migrations across the globe, and our acquisition of language - were lost in the darkness of 'prehistory'. But at last geneticists and other scientists are piecing together a history - the true story of Adam and Eve. Mapping Human History is nothing less than a 'history of prehistory'. Steve Olson travelled through four continents to discover the development of humans and our expansion throughout the planet. He describes, for example, new thinking about how centres of agriculture sprang up among disparate foraging societies at roughly the same time. He tells why most of us can claim Julius Caesar and Confucius among our forebears. He pinpoints why the ways in which the story of the Jewish people jibes with, and diverges from, biblical accounts. And using very recent genetic findings, he explodes the myth that human races are a biological reality.
Steve Olson, a science major who studied writing with John Hersey and Alice Walker, graduated from Yale University in 1978. He has written extensively on biological sciences, often working at the National Academy of the Sciences and the Institute of Genomic Research in Washington D.C. He has written for Atlantic, Science and many other magazines, and his books include Biotechnology: An Industry Comes of Age and Shaping the Future: Biological Research and Human Values.