The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies? by Jared Diamond, is published by Allen Lane

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PULITZER Prize-winning author Jared Diamond returns with a typically in-depth and illuminating read that showcases his talent for informative storytelling.

In The World Until Yesterday, Diamond draws upon his extensive personal knowledge – gained from decades of fieldwork in the Pacific Islands – as well as evidence from elsewhere to analyse what lessons can be taken from studying traditional ways of life.

In order to cover his broad subject matter in sufficient detail without exceeding 500 pages, the author focuses on specific topics, such as child-rearing and the treatment of the elderly.

Comparing past practices to those commonly seen in the Western world today, Diamond is careful not to blithely romanticise the way tribal societies operated, but concludes that much can be learned from their way of living.

Anyone with an interest in the human past is likely to find this book interesting and instructive in equal measure.

Chris Devine