Book review: ‘The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life’ by Richard Dawkins

Dawkins's lavishly illustrated magnum opus-cum-coffee table book.

The Ancestor's TaleThe central theme of this excellent book is a Chaucerian pilgrimage back in time down our family tree. En route, we are joined, in reverse chronological order, by fellow pilgrim species at the points in our genealogical histories where our lineages diverged from a common concestor (Dawkins' useful neologism, which I hope will stick). During our pilgrimage, we learn plenty of fascinating facts about our fellow travellers; specific facts that are used to illustrate general evolutionary principles.

I like the way Dawkins has been mellowing in recent years, although his writing is as excellent as ever. If you liked his earlier writing, you will like this.

I did, however, have one minor niggle with this book (but don't let it put you off): in a couple of places, Dawkins talks politics. This seems totally out of place in a book stretching back billions of years into the past.

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletter
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