The Dawn of Everything (2022, Allen Lane) 4 stars

A breathtakingly ambitious retelling of the earliest human societies offers a new understanding of world …

Frustrating at best

2 stars

I usually find Graeber's work a bit annoying as I agree with the conclusions, but I find his arguments for how to get there lacking. I had high hopes for this book as the premise was interesting. Unfortunately, this book was even more frustrating that his others. I enjoyed the critique of eurocentric views on civilization, and I liked that the book argues against a narrative of progress through feudal lords and then capitalism.

However, a main argument in the book is against the idea that large population governance is not inherently oppressive. I wholly reject this idea. The arguments Graeber and Wengrow make are hundreds of pages long and never get beyond "well there is no evidence of a monarchy so they must have had people's assemblies and been democratic." The city, they infer, is therefore a structure we can have without oppressive relations. There is then much advocating …