Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

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9781846682865: Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

In Catching Fire, one of the most ambitious arguments about human evolution since Darwin’s Descent of Man, renowned primatologist Richard Wrangham makes the claim that learning to cook food was the hinge on which human evolution turned. Eating cooked food, he argues, enabled us to evolve our large brains, and cooking itself became a primary focus of human social activity―in short, cooking made us the social, intelligent, and sexual species we are today. Path-breaking and provocative, Catching Fire will fascinate anyone interested in our ancient origins―or in our modern eating habits.

"Catching Fire is convincing in argument and impressive in its explanatory power. A rich and important book.” ―Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma

“This is a daringly unorthodox book, and one that might just transform the way we understand ourselves.” ―Sunday Times (UK)

“The ambition of Wrangham’s theory gives it great appeal: Cooking is a powerful biological force and the universal activity around which the rest of human history―the households and tribes, the migrations and wars, the religion and science―arranged itself. But the added treat of the I-cook-therefore-I-am idea is the counterintuitive light it sheds on one of our most intense cultural preoccupations―living the right life by eating naturally." ―Slate

“An exhilarating book.” ―The Times (UK)

“A cogent and compelling argument.” ―Washington Post

“Absolutely fascinating.” ―Nigella Lawson

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About the Author:

Richard Wrangham is the Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University. He is coauthor of Demonic Males, and has been featured on NPR and in the Boston Globe, New Scientist, and Scientific American. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Review:

Publishers Weekly
“[A] fascinating study... Wrangham's lucid, accessible treatise ranges across nutritional science, Paleontology and studies of ape behavior and hunter-gatherer societies; the result is a tour de force of natural history and a profound analysis of cooking's role in daily life.”

Publishers Weekly, starred review
“[A] fascinating study... Wrangham’s lucid, accessible treatise ranges across nutritional science, paleontology and studies of ape behavior and hunter-gatherer societies; the result is a tour de force of natural history and a profound analysis of cooking’s role in daily life.”

Kirkus Reviews
“An innovative argument that cooked food led to the rise of modern Homo sapiens.... Experts will debate Wrangham’s thesis, but most readers will be convinced by this lucid, simulating foray into popular anthropology.”

The Harvard Brain
“With clear and engaging prose, Catching Fire addresses a key and enduring scientific issue central to the quest to understand our species. It offers new insights for anyone interested in human evolution, history, anthropology, nutrition, and for everyone interested in food."

Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University
“In this thoroughly researched and marvelously well written book, Richard Wrangham has convincingly supplied a missing piece in the evolutionary origin of humanity.”

Matt Ridley, author of Genome and The Agile Gene
“Cooking completely transformed the human race, allowing us to live on the ground, develop bigger brains and smaller mouths, and invent specialized sex roles. This notion is surprising, fresh and, in the hands of Richard Wrangham, utterly persuasive. He brings to bear evidence from chimpanzees, fossils, food labs, and dieticians. Big, new ideas do not come along often in evolution these days, but this is one.”

Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible and How to Grill; host of Primal Grill
“A book of startling originality and breathtaking erudition. Drawing on disciplines as diverse as anthropology, sociology, biology, chemistry, physics, literature, nutrition, and cooking, Richard Wrangham addresses two simple but very profound questions: How did we evolve from Australopithecus to Homo sapiens, and what makes us human? The answer can be found at your barbecue grill and I dare say it will surprise you...”

Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma
Catching Fire is convincing in argument and impressive in its explanatory power. A rich and important book.”

Seed Magazine
“...makes a convincing case for the importance of cooking in the human diet, finding a connection between our need to eat cooked food in order to survive and our preference for soft foods. The popularity of Wonderbread, the digestion of actual lumps of meat, and the dangers of indulging our taste buds all feature in this expository romp through our gustatory evolution.”

Discover Magazine
“...fascinating...”

The New York Times
“‘Catching Fire’ is a plain-spoken and thoroughly gripping scientific essay that presents nothing less than a new theory of human evolution...one that Darwin (among others) simply missed.”

Slate.com
“Brilliant... a fantastically weird way of looking at evolutionary change.”

The San Francisco Chronicle
“As new angles go, it's pretty much unbeatable.”

The Washington Post
“Wrangham draws together previous studies and theories from disciplines as diverse as anthropology, biology, chemistry, sociology and literature into a cogent and compelling argument.”

Texas Observer
“Wrangham’s attention to the most subtle of behaviors keeps the reader enrapt...a compelling picture, and one that I now contemplate every time I turn on my stove."

Providence Journal
“Richard Wrangham presents this thesis in a concise, cogent, and accessible way.”

The New York Times Book Review
“A new theory of human evolution – ‘the cooking hypothesis’ – is related in plain-spoken, gripping language.”

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Richard Wrangham
Verlag: Profile Books Sep 2012 (2012)
ISBN 10: 184668286X ISBN 13: 9781846682865
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Buchbeschreibung Profile Books Sep 2012, 2012. Taschenbuch. Buchzustand: Neu. Neuware - In this stunningly original book, Richard Wrangham argues that it was cooking that caused the extraordinary transformation of our ancestors from apelike beings to Homo erectus . At the heart of Catching Fire lies an explosive new idea: the habit of eating cooked rather than raw food permitted the digestive tract to shrink and the human brain to grow, helped structure human society, and created the male-female division of labour. As our ancestors adapted to using fire, humans emerged as 'the cooking apes'. Covering everything from food-labelling and overweight pets to raw-food faddists, Catching Fire offers a startlingly original argument about how we came to be the social, intelligent, and sexual species we are today. 'This notion is surprising, fresh and, in the hands of Richard Wrangham, utterly persuasive . Big, new ideas do not come along often in evolution these days, but this is one.' - Matt Ridley, author of Genome 320 pp. Englisch. Artikel-Nr. 9781846682865

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