The Great Divide: Nature and Human Nature in the Old World and the New (Hardcover)

Out of Print in This Format


Exploring the development of humankind between the Old World and the Newfrom 15,000 BC to AD 1500the acclaimed author of Ideas and The German Genius offers a groundbreaking new understanding of human history.

Why did Asia and Europe develop far earlier than the Americas? What were the factors that acceleratedor impeded development? How did the experiences of Old World inhabitants differ from their New World counterpartsand what factors influenced those differences?

In this fascinating and erudite history, Peter Watson ponders these questions central to the human story. By 15,000 BC, humans had migrated from northeastern Asia across the frozen Bering land bridge to the Americas. When the world warmed up and the last Ice Age came to an end, the Bering Strait refilled with water, dividing America from Eurasia. This divisionwith two great populations on Earth, each unaware of the othercontinued until Christopher Columbus voyaged to the New World in the fifteenth century.

The Great Divide compares the development of humankind in the Old World and the New between 15,000 BC and AD 1500. Watson identifies three major differences between the two worldsclimate, domesticable mammals, and hallucinogenic plantsthat combined to produce very different trajectories of civilization in the two hemispheres. Combining the most up-to-date knowledge in archaeology, anthropology, geology, meteorology, cosmology, and mythology, this unprecedented, masterful study offers uniquely revealing insight into what it means to be human.

About the Author

Peter Watson has written for the "New York Times", "The Observer", "The Spectator", and numerous other publications. He is the author of "Ideas", "War on the Mind", "Wisdom and Strength", "The Caravaggio Conspiracy", and other books. He lives in London.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780061672453
ISBN-10: 0061672459
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: June 26th, 2012
Pages: 610
Language: English