We, Hominids by Frank Westerman, translation: Sam Garrett
(Head of Zeus, 2022, 288 pages)
A roving philosophical journey into what makes us human
In this charming, thought-provoking book, one of Holland's greatest non-fiction writers hunts down answers to humanity's most fundamental questions: Who are we? What makes us different from animals? With an ancient skull as his starting point, he travels the globe, tracing the search for the first human being: the missing link between humans and apes.
Westerman introduces us to the world of skull hunters – leading experts in our fossil ancestry – whose lives are just as fascinating as those of their primeval discoveries. He astutely reconsiders the work of illustrious paleoanthropologists in the light of new DNA technology, postcolonialism, and the rise of women in this male-dominated field. Westerman discovers a plethora of origin hypotheses and shows how any theory of who we are and where we come from is coloured by the zeitgeist.
We, Hominids is a compelling mixture of reportage, travelogue and essay – reminiscent of Bruce Chatwin or Ryszard Kapuściński – written by a brilliant storyteller and thinker.
‘Gripping and brilliantly told, We Hominids deftly blends personal experience with a journalist's eye for a remarkable story.’ – Mark McKenna
‘A masterclass in storytelling, exploring who we are and where we came from.’ – Danielle Clode