bookmark_borderFact and fiction

I’ve almost completed reading Brian Sykes’s The Seven Daughters of Eve.

I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the first two thirds, although the book is a tiny bit out of date. It’s one of those nice examples of popular science that actually gives you a feel for how things happen in the engine room, rather than just presenting the results.

However, towards the end he starts writing fictional stories about the seven “clan mothers” of Europe, and this is definitely the weakest part of the book.

He assigns hair colour and other physical characteristica to them, although he obviously doesn’t know this.

Also, to make the descriptions seem realistic, he strays into areas about which he clearly has little knowledge.

For instance, he writes about one of them that their “language was not elaborate, but quite sufficiently developed to impart […] basic information.” As a linguist, I know this is nonsense. All human languages, whether spoken by hunter-gatherers or by invest bankers, are equally elaborate and highly developed.

So read the first part of this book, but skip the seven fictional chapters.