Book Info
left icon
setting icon
The Dawn of Everything book image
Social Science

The Dawn of Everything

By David Graeber, David Wengrow

book iconFarrar, Straus and Giroux



A dramatically new understanding of human history, challenging our most fundamental assumptions about social evolution—from the development of agriculture and cities to the origins of the state, democracy, and inequality—and revealing new possibilities for human emancipation.

For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike—either free and equal innocents, or thuggish and warlike. Civilization, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the eighteenth century as a conservative reaction to powerful critiques of European society posed by Indigenous observers and intellectuals. Revisiting this encounter has startling implications for how we make sense of human history today, including the origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery, and civilization itself.

Drawing on pathbreaking research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we learn to throw off our conceptual shackles and perceive what’s really there. If humans did not spend 95 percent of their evolutionary past in tiny bands of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing all that time? If agriculture, and cities, did not mean a plunge into hierarchy and domination, then what kinds of social and economic organization did they lead to? The answers are often unexpected, and suggest that the course of human history may be less set in stone, and more full of playful, hopeful possibilities, than we tend to assume.

The Dawn of Everything fundamentally transforms our understanding of the human past and offers a path toward imagining new forms of freedom, new ways of organizing society. This is a monumental book of formidable intellectual range, animated by curiosity, moral vision, and a faith in the power of direct action.

Includes Black-and-White Illustrations

Summary by AI

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber

Authors' Background:

  • David Graeber: Anthropologist, anarchist, and author known for his work on debt, bureaucracy, and social movements.

Main Theme:

  • Challenges traditional narratives of human history, arguing that societies have always been more complex and egalitarian than previously believed.

Key Points:

  • Prehistory was not a time of violence and hierarchy: Graeber presents evidence that early human societies were often peaceful and cooperative.
  • Agriculture did not lead to inequality: Contrary to popular belief, the transition to agriculture did not automatically create social stratification.
  • States and empires were not inevitable: Graeber argues that states and empires were not the natural end point of human evolution but rather the result of specific historical circumstances.
  • Human nature is not fixed: Graeber emphasizes the plasticity of human nature and the ability of societies to shape their own destinies.


  • Positive:
    • Praised for its originality, scholarship, and challenge to conventional wisdom.
    • Received numerous awards, including the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.
  • Negative:
    • Criticized for its length and complexity.
    • Some historians have questioned the accuracy of Graeber's interpretations.

Who Should Read It:

  • Anyone interested in human history, anthropology, or social theory.
  • Readers who are open to challenging traditional narratives and exploring alternative perspectives.
  • Individuals seeking a deeper understanding of the origins and evolution of human societies.


Yuya Uzu
Abdulbaki Deveci


user picture
Yuya Uzu
Dec 3
Posted a review 💬
When we talk about human history, we tend to over simplify things with questions like “Is human inherently good or ...Show more


close icon
Sign In
close icon
Select Languages

Which languages of books would you like to see on the main feed?

All Languages
close icon
Share Links
close icon
Share Review
close icon
No comments yet