Sapiens: A Graphic History: The Birth of Humankind (Vol. 1)

Sapiens: A Graphic History: The Birth of Humankind (Vol. 1)

by Yuval Noah Harari

Paperback

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

It is an iron rule of history that what looks inevitable in hindsight was far from obvious at the time." Harari's hindsight in Sapiens is a wide 70,000-year canvas, a grand-scheme history of homo sapiens and a work of sometimes jaw-dropping surprises. How exciting that Harari has reinterpreted this unconventional, provoking and thoughtful book into graphic narrative form. The beauty of the illustrations and the distillation of the arching story to a frame-by-frame, cinematic telling will surely capture new readers and captivate those already familiar.

Instant National Bestseller

The first volume of the graphic adaptation of Yuval Noah Harari's smash #1 New York Times and international bestseller recommended by President Barack Obama and Bill Gates, with gorgeous full-color illustrations and concise, easy to comprehend text for adult and young adult readers alike.

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?

In this first volume of the full-color illustrated adaptation of his groundbreaking book, renowned historian Yuval Harari tells the story of humankind’s creation and evolution, exploring the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens challenges us to reconsider accepted beliefs, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and view specific events within the context of larger ideas. 

Featuring 256 pages of full-color illustrations and easy-to-understand text covering the first part of the full-length original edition, this adaptation of the mind-expanding book furthers the ongoing conversation as it introduces Harari’s ideas to a wide new readership.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

10/26/2020

Humanity learns its relatively insignificant place in the universe in this witty graphic adaptation by Vandermeulen and artist Casanave with historian Harari of his popular 2015 anthropological examination of the human race. “Humans were just weak, marginal creatures for a good two million years,” claims Harari, who goes on to explain how humans jumped to the top of the food chain—causing ecological disaster along the way. Refreshingly, the co-creators don’t treat the original text as a sacred calf, and take risks as they transform the sprawling scientific history into an accessible visual narrative. Yuval narrates most of the science as a story told to his young niece, but some concepts are conveyed as old-timey advertisements, jokey “Prehistoric Bill” Flintstones–style comic strips, an imagined TV talk show, and a high-stakes trial of “Ecosystem v. Homo Sapiens.” While some panels are text-heavy, the storytelling and Casanave’s rich line drawings keep things zipping along. This appealing first volume elucidates often misunderstood basics of human evolution (i.e., that until 50,000 years ago, there used to be at least six species of humans) while also unraveling knotty existential questions about humanity’s role on this planet. Young science enthusiasts and adult philosophers alike will want to pick up this smart, snappy work. (Oct.)

Wall Street Journal

Sapiens is learned, thought-provoking and crisply written…. Fascinating.

Washington Post

Sapiens takes readers on a sweeping tour of the history of our species…. Harari’s formidable intellect sheds light on the biggest breakthroughs in the human story…important reading for serious-minded, self-reflective sapiens.

New York magazine

Yuval Noah Harari’s full-throated review of our species may have been blurbed by Jared Diamond, but Harari’s conclusions are at once balder and less tendentious than that of his famous colleague.

Kirkus Reviews

2020-10-21
The professor and popular historian expands the reach of his internationally bestselling work with the launch of a graphic nonfiction series.

In a manner that is both playful and provocative, Harari teams with co-creators adept at the graphic format to enliven his academic studies. Here, a cartoon version of the professor takes other characters (and readers) on something of a madcap thrill ride through the history of human evolution, with a timeline that begins almost 14 billion years ago and extends into the future, when humanity becomes the defendant in “Ecosystem vs. Homo Sapiens,” a trial presided over by “Judge Gaia.” As Harari and his fellow time travelers visit with other academics and a variety of species, the vivid illustrations by Casaneve and colorist Champion bring the lessons of history into living color, and Vandermeulen helps condense Harari’s complex insights while sustaining narrative momentum. The text and illustrations herald evolution as “the greatest show on earth” while showing how only one of “six different human species” managed to emerge atop the food chain. While the Homo sapiens were not nearly as large, strong, fast, or powerful as other species that suffered extinction, they were able to triumph due to their development of the abilities to cooperate, communicate, and, perhaps most important, tell and share stories. That storytelling ultimately encompasses fiction, myth, history, and spirituality, and the success of shared stories accounts for a wide variety of historical events and trends, including Christianity, the French Revolution, and the Third Reich. The narrative climaxes with a crime caper, as a serial-killing spree results in the extinction of so many species, and the “Supreme Court of the future” must rule on the case against Homo sapiens. Within those deliberations, it’s clear that not “being aware of the consequences of their actions” is not a valid excuse.

An informative, breathless sprint through the evolution and consequences of human development.

Wall Street Journal

Sapiens is learned, thought-provoking and crisply written…. Fascinating.

Washington Post

Sapiens takes readers on a sweeping tour of the history of our species…. Harari’s formidable intellect sheds light on the biggest breakthroughs in the human story…important reading for serious-minded, self-reflective sapiens.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780063051331
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/27/2020
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 3,353
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.90(d)

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