A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2021), 692 pages.
A short review by John M Repp of parts of the massive book.
Before the French and Indian War, there had been several hundred years of French colonization in the New World around the Great Lakes. Many Jesuit missionaries learned the language of the natives to try and convert them to Christianity, and the missionaries reported back to the educated public in France. Several transcribed dialogues between the Jesuits and native intellectuals became best-selling books in France. This is at the time when the whole French branch of the movement we call the Enlightenment was being born in the intellectual ferment centered around the salons of Paris, with figures like Diderot and Rousseau. It was the “age of Reason”. Yes, the breakthroughs of natural science played a big role in the Enlightenment, but the appearance of concepts like liberty and equality can be traced to native American intellectuals! That is the fascinating story told by Graeber and Wengrow in The Dawn of Everything.