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Publisher's Summary

Kindred is the definitive guide to the Neanderthals.

Since their discovery more than 160 years ago, Neanderthals have metamorphosed from the losers of the human family tree to A-list hominins.

In Kindred, Rebecca Wragg Sykes uses her experience at the cutting-edge of Palaeolithic research to share our new understanding of Neanderthals, shoving aside clichés of rag-clad brutes in an icy wasteland. She reveals them to be curious, clever connoisseurs of their world, technologically inventive and ecologically adaptable. They ranged across vast tracts of tundra and steppe, but also stalked in dappled forests and waded in the Mediterranean Sea. Above all, they were successful survivors for more than 300,000 years, during times of massive climatic upheaval.

At a time when our species has never faced greater threats, we're obsessed with what makes us special. But, much of what defines us was also in Neanderthals and their DNA is still inside us. Planning, co-operation, altruism, craftsmanship, aesthetic sense, imagination, perhaps even a desire for transcendence beyond mortality.

Kindred does for Neanderthals what Sapiens did for us, revealing a deeper, more nuanced story where humanity itself is our ancient, shared inheritance. It is only by understanding them, that we can truly understand ourselves.

©2020 Rebecca Wragg Sykes (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about Kindred

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Horrible Recording/Sound Quality

I've just started and have muddled through a bit of this terrible sound quality recording. Not sure if I can stand it to finish a book I am VERY interested in. Such a shame.

11 people found this helpful

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Narrator is a poor choice

I don't know why Audible let Rebecca Wragg Sykes read her book--I'd liken her U.K. accent to the sound of cellophane crumpling under water. Many Audible readers have British accents that are wholly clear; even enhance the narrative. But this author's reading is a challenge to follow. The tone of her voice goes up and down, and in some inflections the words or parts of the words get lost altogether. Then, alas, the author imagines she is "a writer" and the reader must endure imagery that is self-indulgent. Some "poetic" passages are so baroque that it's hard to know what the author is talking about. There are also extra clauses in sentences that complicate the narrative, or seem to wander from the topic. I actually got a sample of the book from Kindle to see if I should just buy the print book, because I so love the mysteries and discoveries in paleoanthropology and assumed the print book would solve the problem. But the author diverts too often to writerly indulgence, that while a reflection of her passionate love of the discoveries of Neanderthal humanness, can distract from getting to the point. Other authors on this subject enlighten with a clear unfolding of information. I wish she'd been more faithful to the topic, and less enamored of her own desire to be a "writer."

9 people found this helpful

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awesome content

Rebecca is an awesome story teller. she draws you in then presents you with fantastic content and knowledge on Neanderthals

7 people found this helpful

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Ancestors and discovery - recommended

I enjoyed listening to the author’s often poetic description of the art of palaeontology and scientific discovery of our common history and migrations across the globe. Every piece of flint and discarded bone fragment is examined and used to describe the life of these people.
Very convincing and told with an obvious affection.

4 people found this helpful

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Topic is expertly treated but, performance is less

I really appreciated the authors approach to the subject and the discipline she brought to the story.

4 people found this helpful

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Clan of the Cave Bear was much better

All old information, looks to be someone's college essay on Neanderthals. Don't waste your time on this one.

3 people found this helpful

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Best science/history I've heard in awhile

Perfectly balanced between close adherence to facts and evocative description of what Neanderthal life could have been like.

3 people found this helpful

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Worth it

Glad I listened - words are pronounced properly. Really needs an accompanying PDF - perhaps with a map. Got lost sometimes, but she’s pulls you back in on the regular. Definitely worth a listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Fascinating

How to rethink your worldview. If only we could all be as passionate and flexibly minded as the author, we would be a very different species. Thank you.

1 person found this helpful

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A Must-Have for Fans of Prehistory

Comprehensive, evocative, and even poignant, this book offers the perfect deep dive into the fascinating world of our Paleolithic cousins. The author treats her subjects with empathy and respect, offering a nuanced interpretation of the currently available evidence, and inviting the reader to contemplate their own place within the vast, grand narrative of human evolution.

1 person found this helpful

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  • hhj
  • 05-31-21

Was this recorded inside a biscuit tin?

This is a fascinating book, read well by the author but a hard listen because the recording is so tinny. I'm persevering because of the quality of the book but I'm doing it in little bursts because the sound quality is really grating to the ear. Such a pity and it really lets the author down.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-22-21

Fantastic

Beautifully done - as a climate scientist, this has quickly established itself as one of the most influential books on how I think and communicate about my science. Such empathy throughout.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher Inwood
  • 10-03-20

A wonderful journey thank you Rebecca. X

Every page was both enlightening and entertaining. Such a very interesting subject. I struggled with some of the technical phrases and had to pause and do some research (at 3 am!). I suspected that where certain evidence was finely balanced either way, Rebecca erred towards the Neanderthal positives and I felt that there was an underlying attempt throughout the book to sell us something. The introductions at the beginning of each chapter were so evocative. I often rewound to immerse myself further. Time traveling at its' best. I will certainly read this beauty again.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Isaac Laing
  • 04-03-21

fascinating and well written, if a bit repetitive

as the title says, this was a great book but got slightly repetitive at times. well performed, definitely worth a listen

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anne Cowling
  • 01-23-22

Some writers shouldn’t read their own works.

The material is interesting, but the reader, sadly as they are the author, really isn’t very good.

General delivery is poor with random stresses in a kind of ‘newsreader style’. To be fair to them, many readers do that, but I usually assume it’s down to unfamiliarity with the text or lack of understanding of the subject, neither of which can be the case here. Though the very odd stresses on some sentences made me wonder if Wragg had assumed her familiarity with the text would carry her through and skimped on her prep.

Could also have done without the semi-mystical interludes, but that’s just me.

2 people found this helpful

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  • tabitha russell
  • 06-09-21

Heavy on details but obviously needs to be

I would recomend this book to people who really enjoy the history of human evolution. if you aren't really into factual books I'd say give this book a miss. But the author did a fantastic job of painting a picture of the neanderthals as the beings they were likely to be.

I also really enjoyed the ending where she talks about race, and genetic testing.
I loved this book but I'm a massive nerd and love history. I did find some sections laborious though.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel Burrows
  • 03-29-21

Brilliant introduction to a complex topic,

As someone who knew (relatively) nothing about our prehistoric cousins, this was a thoroughly interesting, well read, and superbly written narrative history of Neanderthals. Would love to read/listen to again and highly recommended it to my friends/family

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-19-20

Fantastic book!

Fascinating book! the author has gone much deeper in depth on the subject than other books I've read and really explains what is currently known about Neanderthals...more than I thought we knew! She really brings them to life and breaks down alot of misconceptions that we hold about them. 5 stars!!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kathy
  • 12-22-21

.

3.75/5

Audiobook narrated by the author.

Far from the hulking idiot depictions in modern media, Kindred sheds some light on what life, society and the deep ancient world was like for some of our closest hominid cousins: the neanderthals.

- The amount of ratifiable and theoretical information in this book is astounding. Wragg Sykes has definitely researched this book extremely well and provides references for her thoughts, findings and conclusions. Sometimes this amount of detail becomes challenging, especially in audio format, but it is very comprehensive. The author also acknowledges the limitations of both the science and the books interpretations and how due to the depth of time ago these people lived, it is hard to know much for definite.

- Each chapter begins with an imagined scene from neanderthal life and I love how this helped connect me to the subject matter. As a mother, I definitely connected to the snippets involving children and birth and it made me want to know more and empathise with these long ago women.

- As I mentioned in my first point Wragg Sykes does not hold back on describing the limitations of science and work around neanderthals. However, I did like the ending of the book which focused a lot on biases and homo sapiens' societal problems which have impacted our knowledge, research, our own society and possibly our futures.

- My favourite fact from this book is that we share approximately 2-3% of our DNA with neanderthals due to prehistoric interbreeding. Knowing inside me somewhere might be an ancient neanderthal ancestor made my heart happy to be associated with these people, even if on an only genetic level.

A fascinating insight into a world homo sapiens have long forgotten. For anyone interested in precivilisation humanity, ancient life, natural history or even exploring what it means to be human, this would be an in-depth and occasionally very technical but enjoyable read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Emily
  • 08-27-21

Beautiful book

I thought this was a really beautiful and well performed audiobook. However, I must admit towards the end it felt like it was going on forever. I am a fast reader and I think this would be better as a physical book rather than audiobook (there are also lovely illustrations inside the physical copy). So overall, I would definitely recommend reading this book, but I would suggest the physical copy :)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Peter Thomas
  • 05-05-22

a fascinating journey into our past.

I found the book well read, gripping and informative. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in prehistory. wonderfully insightful.

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  • Leslie Jogi
  • 02-16-22

Fascinating Read

I learned so much in this book, having encountered Neanderthals only through comic depictions. The breadth and range of discoveries, the growing scientific techniques used to understand them and the sympathetic narrative that wove these into a convincing story are compelling. I particularly appreciated the challenges raised to modern belief in the superiority of homo sapiens and found the conclusion an apt picture of our lack of humility and unwillingness to learn. Thank you for what must represent prodigious research, but also open minded, generous curiosity.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-22-21

Kindred

Loved this book and the narration. I felt I was there on the hunt and crave more books like this