1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $34.90

Buy for $34.90

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike - either free and equal, or thuggish and warlike. Civilisation, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the 18th century as a reaction to Indigenous critiques of European society and why they are wrong. In doing so, they overturn our view of human history, including the origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery and civilisation itself.

Drawing on path-breaking research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we begin to see what's really there. If humans did not spend 95 per cent of their evolutionary past in tiny bands of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing all that time? If agriculture, and cities, did not mean a plunge into hierarchy and domination, then what kinds of social and economic organisation did they lead to? The answers are often unexpected and suggest that the course of history may be less set in stone and more full of playful possibilities than we tend to assume.

The Dawn of Everything fundamentally transforms our understanding of the human past and offers a path towards imagining new forms of freedom, new ways of organising society. This is a monumental book of formidable intellectual range, animated by curiosity, moral vision and faith in the power of direct action.

©2021 David Graeber, David Wengrow (P)2021 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"Pacey and potentially revolutionary." (Sunday Times)

"Iconoclastic and irreverent...an exhilarating read." (Guardian)
 

"Boldly ambitious, entertaining and thought-provoking." (Observer)

What listeners say about The Dawn of Everything

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    43
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    34
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    36
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Better than Yuval Harari’s Sapiens

A brilliant, wide ranging and fascinating journey into human history that references intellectual and indigenous voices alike.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliantly mind opening

A stunningly detailed account of the key conceptions and misconceptions about early civilisation. A must read for anyone who thinks contemporary accounts of history just don’t add up.

The narration is compelling and sincere, a joy to listen to.

Overall whilst it is a mammoth undertaking it is rewarding, especially the well thought out conclusion.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just awesome!

The audiobook is an amazing companion to the real thing.

The book itself is incredible well written and mind blowing.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating, challenging provocative and entertaining

A powerful critique of received wisdom and an open challenge to current researchers and university curriculums. Should be required reading for anyone interested in the human condition. Highly recommended

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

tremendous book, mostly excellent audio

this is really a thought-provoking volume. It's likely to radically change how the reader approaches other 'big history' works.

The audio production is also excellent. There is an occasional misreading (e.g., 'casual' for 'causal'), but given the scope of the subject matter, that's not unsurprising.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars

not suited to this format

this is an important landmark academic document. it is conceptually dense and needs to be poured over to unpack. The audiobook format presents it in an upbeat 'level' toner which impedes comprehension.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Olly Buxton
  • Olly Buxton
  • 11-11-21

not the great revolution I was expecting

David Graeber was a genuinely provocative and original thinker, a beautiful writer, and his “Debt: The First 5000 years” is a really thought-provoking book. Perhaps I have been softened up having read works by James C Scott, Jane Jacobs, Barbara Tuchman, Jeremy Lent and others, but this wasn't the epic gobsmacker it was billed as. It is interesting, but not gripping, and the promised takedowns of Yuval Harari and Steven Pinker weren't quite as eviscerating as I was hoping.

Graeber’s post structuralist approach means he can't king-hit conventional wisdom anything like as hard as he would clearly like to - the best he can do is say “this is coloured and biased by X and y perspectives, and here's an alternative perspective ...” but he would have too concede that his perspective, too, is necessarily biased and coloured, drawing just as selectively and extrapolating just as willfully from the record.

Fairly well read but the narrator's tone, whether by accident or design, errs on the side of sounding snide, which doesn't help the presentation.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Liam
  • Liam
  • 01-03-22

Challenges the myths of how societies develop

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book, very well reproduced as an audiobook.
It has become axiomatic that societies develop from hunter-gatherer to rural farming to urban, commercial, then industrial. This book challenges this assumption with multiple well-described examples. Why shouldn’t people like us (our ancestors) have been just as capable as we are of living in multiple different ways?
The world and our history is much more complex than simple myths of “inevitable progress” might suggest.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for pipsqueak
  • pipsqueak
  • 12-28-21

Judgemental

This might be good but I struggled with tone of narration. “Everyone who has come before me is a complete idiot”. Found it hard to take the book seriously with such emotional bias in the reading

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tim
  • Tim
  • 02-06-22

A masterpiece

What an incredible book. It is a magnum opus that is remarkably broad, demonstrates an astonishing level of scholarship, and draws conclusions that I found compelling. I am an evolutionary biologist rather than a historian or social scientist, who had found the standard narratives of the rise of modern-day civilisation unconvincing. The reason for this is I have personally always felt free to seek an alternative lifestyle away from social norms and laws that govern most of our existences and know several people who live off grid in various parts of the world who are happy living socially unconventional lives. I have not followed this route myself, because I am content with my lot.

I had always assumed that such freedoms to escape from societal norms must have been available for most folk throughout human history, and that, ultimately, this gave groups of people nearly unlimited opportunity to try all sorts of forms of social organisation, from the egalitarian through to the strictly hierarchical. It does not seem to me that the mass pursuit of a contented life would ultimately always result in the nation states we inhabit today. Instead, the outcome would to be partially determined by the dominant belief system that the group, or tribe, or nation, predominantly adopted. David Graeber and David Wengrow’s book provided some evidence to suggest my previously uninformed postulate has some support. I loved this book, and I learned so much. I now wish to travel to visit many of the archaeological sites they so eloquently bring to life.

If you want to believe that capitalist economics and western society were both inevitable from the day our first ancestors hewed a rough stone tool, then this book is not for you. If you have an open mind and are fan of well-researched heterodoxy challenging established dogma, then read this book. I will read it again. A masterpiece.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for aviv sion
  • aviv sion
  • 01-09-22

The Dawn of Everything, a difficult listen

I found this a really difficult Listen. Boring, scattered and it's difficult to follow what the overall point that the writers are trying to illustrate in each chapter is..
couldn't finish

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for MR NEIL CADWALLADER
  • MR NEIL CADWALLADER
  • 01-05-22

Poorly narrated

It is well written but I found the narrator so irritating I was unable to complete the book.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 02-11-22

This book will change the world

You rarely read books like this one, that not only adds little building blocks to your understanding of the world but completely reconfigures the foundation.

Narrator is good and pleasant to listen to, but you listen to this book for the content, not the narration.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-02-22

Mind blowing

Imagine being at the court when Galileo first described The Earth orbiting round The Sun

Imagine being alive in the Victorian era and read Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

That is how sensational the ambition and the achievement of this book is.

It is revolutionary accumulation of the forensic evidence available to modern archeology and a lifetime of interrogation of written sources in long disappeared languages

Just the first of its phalanx of (flawlessly evidenced) epoch-making ideas is the astounding discovery that the modern European enlightenment - and its associated political reforms - were actually initiated by conquered Native American critics articulating the advantages of their societies to the European overlords now attempting to control them.

Beautifully read in a friendly British schoolmaster tone.

An absolute breeze of concentrated learning , leavened with wit, but mostly of awe at the erudition and achievements of the authors.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Prof
  • Prof
  • 12-08-21

a curates egg

history good but interpretation very right on. left me realising that social science is an oxymoron.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tim
  • Tim
  • 07-25-22

Absolutely excellent

Such a fantastic yet down to earth revisiting of embedded certainties. I look forward to reading it again and again.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Reuben
  • Reuben
  • 06-08-22

Fascinating challenge to many ideas I took as self evident

An at times sense review of new and old ideas on inequality. Well worth persevering with. Great narration! You could hear the passion and intrigue in his voice.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Red Skippy
  • Red Skippy
  • 05-22-22

a fantastic look at early communist societies

great, thorough yet playful study of early history and prehistoric archaeology and sociology. my only criticism is that they dismiss Marx without seeming to have read him, or Engels in his origin of the family. class matters and that's why anarchists have failed to return to Eden in our capitalist era

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kevin Yeo
  • Kevin Yeo
  • 04-22-22

Everyone should read this book.

Turns out it doesn't have to be this way. Read this book to understand that in the past we opted out of tyrany and tried many different ways of living together, and we can do so again.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-01-22

Challenging and Exciting

This fascinating book debunks the underlying accepted truth that all societies, at all times, were, more or less, on the way to where we now find ourselves. A world built in inequality, oppression, war, ecological disaster and the reduction of our standard of living. It posits, instead, alternative views, based on increasing evidence and re-interpretation off older material, that we need not be treated on our current path and can use creative approaches to reorganise and improve the World. The road not taken is not closed forever and if ever we needed convincing that things are not as they should be we need only see what exists now, a world controlled but a few mega wealthy individuals and corporations destroying out planet. This fact alone highlights the need for radical reappraisal. A great and challenging read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 02-19-22

Flips the narrative of destiny and doom

Loved it. Turns the regurgiated revisions of the history of humans on their head and gives hope that change is possible.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 02-13-22

outstanding

This should be a school set book. Excellent book. Very enlightening and thorough. All Graeber books are worth reading

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tim
  • Tim
  • 02-12-22

outstanding, opened my eyes

an important book exploring many of the assumptions of our current thinking... brilliant and challenging and worth both listening to and having the hard cover to mark up.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Whimmy
  • Whimmy
  • 01-17-22

Fantastic book but mediocre narration

This book is clearly revalationary, and is our last book from David Graeber, RIP. In typical Graeber fashion it is overflowing with details but is boiled down to some simple principles to remember that have massive consequences.
The narration is bland, and unforgiving for the heavy academic nature of the writing. All of the humour is lost in the steady and unwavering voice that feels closer to a robot librarian than the actual excitement that Wengrow and Graeber would have had.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Douglas
  • Douglas
  • 01-13-22

Illuminating!

Couldn’t put it down, illuminating and ultimately offers hope that the situation we have put the world in, could have been, and indeed still can be very different!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-28-21

Startling and Enlightening!

This intellectual examination of all the philosophy and fixed ideas of the development of civilization really turned my views upside down and shone light on many areas of human history that I had NO idea existed. A deeply important message for our time.