Lineages of ModernityA History of Humanity from the Stone Age to <i>Homo Americanus</i>
Lineages of Modernity
A History of Humanity from the Stone Age to Homo Americanus
Translated by Andrew Brown
In most developed countries there is a palpable sense of confusion about the current state of affairs. Many things that were taken for granted a decade or two ago no longer seem secure, and many people are looking for new ways to understand how we got to where we are today and where we are heading.

In this major new book, the leading sociologist, historical anthropologist and demographer Emmanuel Todd sheds new light on our current predicament by reconstructing the historical dynamics of human societies from the Stone Age to the present. Eschewing the tendency to attribute special causal significance to the economy, Todd develops an anthropological account of history, focusing on the long-term dynamics of family systems and their links to religion and ideology – what he sees as the slow-moving, unconscious level of society, in contrast to the conscious level of the economy and politics – and on the dramatic changes brought about by the spread of education. This enables him to explain the different historical trajectories of the advanced nations and the growing divergence between them, a divergence that can be observed in the rise of the Anglosphere in the modern period, the paradox of a <i>Homo Americanus</i> that is at once innovative and archaic, the startling electoral success of Donald Trump, the lack of realism in the will to power shown by Germany and China, the emergence of stable authoritarian democracy in Russia, the new introversion of Japan and the recent turbulent developments in Europe, including Brexit. 

This magisterial account of human history puts into perspective and enables us to understand in new ways the massive transformations taking place in the world today, transformations that have less to do with the supposed homogenizing effects of globalization and the reaction to it and more to do with the diversity among nations that is rooted in the long history of human evolution.
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  • May 2019
  • 370 pages
  • 152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509534470
  • Open eBook $45.00
  • 9781509534494
Table of Contents

Preface to the English edition

Introduction. The differentiation of family structures and the inverse model of history

Chapter One. The differentiation of family systems: Eurasia

Chapter Two. The differentiation of family systems: Indian America and Africa

Chapter Three. Homo sapiens

Chapter Four. Judaism and early Christianity: family and literacy

Chapter Five. Germany, Protestantism and universal literacy

Chapter Seven. Educational take-off and economic development

Chapter Eight. Secularization and the crisis of transition

Chapter Nine. The English matrix of globalization

Chapter Ten. Homo americanus

Chapter Eleven. Democracy is always primitive

Chapter Twelve. Democracy undermined by higher education

Chapter Thirteen. A crisis in Black and White

Chapter Fourteen: Donald Trump as will and representation

Chapter Fifteen. The memory of places

Chapter Sixteen. Stem family societies: Germany and Japan

Chapter Seventeen. The metamorphosis of Europe

Chapter Eighteen. Communitarian societies: Russia and China Envoi

Post-script: the future of liberal democracy



About the Author

Emmanuel Todd is a sociologist, demographer and historical anthropologist at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED), Paris. He was one of the first scholars to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union and he is the author of many bestselling books, including After the Empire and Who Is Charlie?

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"Emmanuel Todd is an internationally known scholar whose work on the development and influence of family systems around the world has challenged many preconceptions. This is a bold, iconoclastic, wide-ranging study, marshalling a great deal of material from history, anthropology, demography and other disciplines. It is written from an unusual angle and rightly challenges the primacy of economic forces, emphasizing instead the role of family systems, ideology, education and culture in the shaping of human history. There is much to learn from this work."
Alan MacFarlane, Life Fellow, King's College Cambridge

"To the study of the United States, the Soviet Union and France, Emmanuel Todd has brought a unique combination of empirical rigor and humanist insight. Now, in Lineages of Modernity, this great thinker has found his greatest subject."
Michael Lind, author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States

"Emmanuel Todd provides intellectual nourishment of the first order. His family-based, anthropological-historical account uncovers another part of the hidden wiring of human development and provides a welcome antidote to the relentless economism of so much contemporary analysis. And for those of us unfamiliar with the Todd perspective, he writes with clarity and erudition, marshalling a huge amount of evidence to provide a fresh but undogmatic perspective on the modern world, usually with half an eye on the ancient one."
David Goodhart, member of the Policy Exchange think tank and author of The Road to Somewhere: the new tribes shaping British politics

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