Anfänge (Hardcover, German language, 2022, Klett-Cotta Verlag) 5 stars

Ein großes Buch von gewaltiger intellektueller Bandbreite, neugierig, visionär, und ein Plädoyer für die Macht …

Rethinking "prehistory"

5 stars

This book is quite a tome, but it was also an engaging read. Graeber and Wengrow set out to challenge the question of the origins of social and economic inequality in favor of better, more helpful questions. Along the way, they turn conventional wisdom or simple, supposedly universal models of socio-political development upside down and inside out. Spoiler alert: Everything Western popular depictions of "the Stone Age" or "tribal people" tell you is probably wrong. I enjoyed the book's focus on non-European societies and histories, especially pre-colonial/pre-settler American history. The hypothesis that idigenous critique of European social structures and lifestyle was an inspiration for Enlightenment seems like a strong one, but I don't discount it.

My takeaway is that humans have always encouragingly creative in restructuring societies, and that neither states in the modern sense nor capitalism and centralized authority are inevitable.