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Who Ate the First Oyster?: The Extraordinary People Behind the Greatest Firsts in History

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Who wore the first pants? Who painted the first masterpiece? Who first rode the horse? This madcap adventure across ancient history uses everything from modern genetics to archaeology to uncover the geniuses behind these and other world-changing innovations. Who invented the wheel? Who told the first joke? Who drank the first beer? Who was the murderer in the first murder m Who wore the first pants? Who painted the first masterpiece? Who first rode the horse? This madcap adventure across ancient history uses everything from modern genetics to archaeology to uncover the geniuses behind these and other world-changing innovations. Who invented the wheel? Who told the first joke? Who drank the first beer? Who was the murderer in the first murder mystery, who was the first surgeon, who sparked the first fire--and most critically, who was the first to brave the slimy, pale oyster? In this book, writer Cody Cassidy digs deep into the latest research to uncover the untold stories of some of these incredible innovators (or participants in lucky accidents). With a sharp sense of humor and boundless enthusiasm for the wonders of our ancient ancestors, Who Ate the First Oyster? profiles the perpetrators of the greatest firsts and catastrophes of prehistory, using the lives of individuals to provide a glimpse into ancient cultures, show how and why these critical developments occurred, and educate us on a period of time that until recently we've known almost nothing about.


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Who wore the first pants? Who painted the first masterpiece? Who first rode the horse? This madcap adventure across ancient history uses everything from modern genetics to archaeology to uncover the geniuses behind these and other world-changing innovations. Who invented the wheel? Who told the first joke? Who drank the first beer? Who was the murderer in the first murder m Who wore the first pants? Who painted the first masterpiece? Who first rode the horse? This madcap adventure across ancient history uses everything from modern genetics to archaeology to uncover the geniuses behind these and other world-changing innovations. Who invented the wheel? Who told the first joke? Who drank the first beer? Who was the murderer in the first murder mystery, who was the first surgeon, who sparked the first fire--and most critically, who was the first to brave the slimy, pale oyster? In this book, writer Cody Cassidy digs deep into the latest research to uncover the untold stories of some of these incredible innovators (or participants in lucky accidents). With a sharp sense of humor and boundless enthusiasm for the wonders of our ancient ancestors, Who Ate the First Oyster? profiles the perpetrators of the greatest firsts and catastrophes of prehistory, using the lives of individuals to provide a glimpse into ancient cultures, show how and why these critical developments occurred, and educate us on a period of time that until recently we've known almost nothing about.

30 review for Who Ate the First Oyster?: The Extraordinary People Behind the Greatest Firsts in History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sumit RK

    Throughout human history, there have been some landmark discoveries, which shaped the future of the human race. The discovery of Fire, Wheel, Antibiotics for eg. But, there are several other discoveries throughout human history that are not even acknowledged today, despite their impact. In Who Ate the First Oyster, Cody Cassidy takes a look at a few (17 to be exact) very important one's discoveries and traces their evolution and their impact on human evolution. “This is a book about who these pe Throughout human history, there have been some landmark discoveries, which shaped the future of the human race. The discovery of Fire, Wheel, Antibiotics for eg. But, there are several other discoveries throughout human history that are not even acknowledged today, despite their impact. In Who Ate the First Oyster, Cody Cassidy takes a look at a few (17 to be exact) very important one's discoveries and traces their evolution and their impact on human evolution. “This is a book about who these people were. What they did. And why it mattered.” It is a book about individual achievements during the long period of prehistory. This book takes a look at some interesting discoveries incl: -Who invented fire? -Who first rode the horse? -Who wore the first pants? -Who invented the wheel? -Who drank the first beer? -Who painted the first masterpiece? -Who was the first surgeon? Each chapter focuses on a new discovery. Cassidy has used everything from modern genetics to expert opinion to archaeology to create a profile of these individuals. For eg: The first person to eat an oyster was probably a woman as women were mostly gatherers and foragers. Then it attempts to speculate on the events that led to the invention. Written in an engaging style and lots of humor, Who Ate the First Oyster is divided into short chapters that focus on an invention that was important for our evolution and progress. The use of the clock analogy to represent how long ago these events happened was interesting too. The older inventions are based on more speculation but overall backed by solid evidence. Overall, Who Are the First Oyster is an excellently informative read. Cassidy’s light and humorous writing style make this book, a fun to read. This book attempts to simplify science and make it accessible to all and it succeeds brilliantly. Many thanks to the publishers' Penguin Books and Edelweiss for the ARC.  

  2. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    Written in an engaging style and well-researched, Who Ate the First Oyaster is divided into short chapters that focus on an invention that was important for our evolution and progress. For instance, the first oyster chapter is really about our ancestors first getting interested in practical astronomy i.e realising that low and high tides were connected to the Moon phases. I liked the way the author used the clock analogy to represent how long ago these events happened. It might not be new, but it Written in an engaging style and well-researched, Who Ate the First Oyaster is divided into short chapters that focus on an invention that was important for our evolution and progress. For instance, the first oyster chapter is really about our ancestors first getting interested in practical astronomy i.e realising that low and high tides were connected to the Moon phases. I liked the way the author used the clock analogy to represent how long ago these events happened. It might not be new, but it was clear and very effective. I also liked the way the author did everything to avoid gender bias. Very easy to follow, the book is ideal for teenagers, but also anybody with a curious mind and willingness to look beyond history we get taught at school. Thank you to Edelweiss and Penguin Books for the ARc provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    ***10,000 years ago*** Trogg: *picks up oyster* This rock has goo inside! Blogg: Ew, maybe the rock has gone bad. Trogg: I'M GOING TO EAT THAT SHIT. Blogg: Noooo! Don't do it! Everyone, Trogg is going to eat a rotten rock! *all the cave people gather round* Trogg: If you would like to watch me eat other rocks, don't forget to smash that subscribe rock ***10,000 years ago*** Trogg: *picks up oyster* This rock has goo inside! Blogg: Ew, maybe the rock has gone bad. Trogg: I'M GOING TO EAT THAT SHIT. Blogg: Noooo! Don't do it! Everyone, Trogg is going to eat a rotten rock! *all the cave people gather round* Trogg: If you would like to watch me eat other rocks, don't forget to smash that subscribe rock

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sonja Arlow

    3.5 stars This book is a mix between evolutionary biology, archaeology and anthropology. Full of interesting trivia and theories. The more you go back in time the more speculation is needed to formulate a theory and most of the stories in this book are no different. It does however balance out the guess work with solid science and I really liked learning how scientists can definitively say what pre-historic humans ate, made tools with, and migrated across continents. This feels like a very light v 3.5 stars This book is a mix between evolutionary biology, archaeology and anthropology. Full of interesting trivia and theories. The more you go back in time the more speculation is needed to formulate a theory and most of the stories in this book are no different. It does however balance out the guess work with solid science and I really liked learning how scientists can definitively say what pre-historic humans ate, made tools with, and migrated across continents. This feels like a very light version of Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies and is well worth the read even if one or two sections were not to my taste.

  5. 5 out of 5

    TL

    I won this via goodreads giveaways, all my opinions are my own:). --- This was a fun little book. It was neat to have a little window into the things we all know well today (and in some cases take for granted) and see how it developed and what the culture back then was like. Our history is so vast that it's hard to comprehend so sometimes it has you wondering how people lived back then. I personally would love to go back and time to see but somehow take indoor plumbing with me haha. One of my favor I won this via goodreads giveaways, all my opinions are my own:). --- This was a fun little book. It was neat to have a little window into the things we all know well today (and in some cases take for granted) and see how it developed and what the culture back then was like. Our history is so vast that it's hard to comprehend so sometimes it has you wondering how people lived back then. I personally would love to go back and time to see but somehow take indoor plumbing with me haha. One of my favorite sections was about the first master piece and the Chauvet caves. (Typing on my phone so check my status update for a few pics and a link with more info). Seriously , go look it up! It is so amazing and awe inspiring.. I was lost for words. This is definitely the type of things they should be teaching in high school history classes. The smallpox section was interesting and when you step back to think about it.. *lets out a breath* How many people were affected by what was a random set of events coming together in just the right way (and some of the stuff said applies to now times as well)... The last part of this section for me.. a bit chilling and had me shaking my head at the same time. I'm not going to go through each section but I will say I thoroughly enjoyed this and learned quite a few new things. Would recommend, its written in a way that isn't dry and boring and, I'll use the word again haha, fun:). (My ARC copy is 211 pages with notes and 195 pages before the notes start). If my niece ends up a history nerd like me, I will pass this on to her as well.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Quick & fun, so don't get the idea there is any heavy discussion, just a synopsis of a popular current theory or two with some supporting evidence. I really liked how he put a face on these anonymous people. Well narrated & interesting. Definitely recommended. Throughout, he makes a big deal out of what 'primitive' man had to know & remember. Agreed, it was impressive, but I don't think he gives us enough credit. Most of us don't know what our ancestors did about the 'natural' world, but the numb Quick & fun, so don't get the idea there is any heavy discussion, just a synopsis of a popular current theory or two with some supporting evidence. I really liked how he put a face on these anonymous people. Well narrated & interesting. Definitely recommended. Throughout, he makes a big deal out of what 'primitive' man had to know & remember. Agreed, it was impressive, but I don't think he gives us enough credit. Most of us don't know what our ancestors did about the 'natural' world, but the number & complexity of things we do know is even more impressive. Still, he helps dispel the idea that their ignorance equates with stupid. They knew a LOT. Introduction These narratives are based on the current best guesses based of current evidence which is rapidly changing as we get better tools & make further discoveries, so each should be taken as interesting possibilities NOT fact. He handles the big number problem by setting these discoveries into a 24 hour clock based on the 300K history of anatomically modern humans, ...written history would begin a half hour before midnight. That leaves twenty-three and a half hours of “prehistory,” a place that an estimated 1.5 billion anonymous people called home. Thus the earliest leaps forward take place before the clock even starts. I find this more confusing than helpful, but when read in order, it does help put our accelerating tech in perspective.  1 Who Invented Inventions? He comes to the conclusion it was probably a woman figuring out a baby sling roughly 3 million years ago, long before modern humans evolved. Good supporting points made about the cost of caring for an infant who couldn't cling for over a year with foraging needs doubled due to carrying & nursing the kid, yet foraging was harder due to one hand holding the kid. Carrying/clinging was harder due to the mother having an upright posture & there was probably a total lack of day care. Set the kid down & it would likely become a meal, so without this invention we likely would have died out.  2 Who Discovered Fire? Probably Homo habilis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_ha...) a million years ago. I hadn't realized chimps liked to scavenge around fires or preferred cooked food. I'm always amazed by the figures of how much easier cooked food is to digest, thus giving many more calories & cutting back on the time eating/foraging took. He provides some remarkable figures.  3 Who Ate the First Oyster? 10:53am, 164,000 ya is the worst chapter. He contends it was probably an early woman who might have figured out the tides since he contends extremely low tides were needed to harvest oysters. It's all a real stretch, IMO. He seems to believe there was no other food available on the sea shore without tools which is ridiculous. He must never have visited a seashore or even seen one on TV. He never even mentioned tide pools.  4 Who Invented Clothing? 2:34pm, 107,000 ya. He contends it was probably a guy for decoration. I hadn't realized how long between our loss of hair & the appearance of the body louse was. This dates clothes since the louse needed them to evolve from our head lice. Interesting facts about the use of clothing across cultures, but I think he discounts the need for warmth too much.  5 Who Shot the First Arrow? 6:48pm, 64,000 ya. He contends the bow probably started as a toy & that makes sense. It seems as if it is a modern human trait only. Neanderthal's haven't been found to have them, but we had them for about 15K years before we killed them off. He's obviously not a woodworker. While I don't recall The Age of Wood: Our Most Useful Material and the Construction of Civilization's take on bows, I recommend reading it for a far better perspective on just how well our ancestors handled this material.  6 Who Painted the World’s First Masterpiece? 9pm, 33,000 ya. Some interesting ideas about the Lascaux Cave paintings & who was allowed to decorate them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lascaux  7 Who First Discovered the Americas? 10:43pm, 16,000 ya. He discusses migration across Beringia only without mentioning any alternate hypotheses. He does mention how swiftly we spread all the way from there to the southern tip of SA, but doesn't mention the issues this has caused with our theories. Other evidence for earlier habitation & DNA studies are still problematic, but new evidence in NM with purported 23,000 year old foot prints recently. https://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...  8 Who Drank the First Beer? 10:48pm, 15,000 ya. Probably a woman who left her grain gruel sitting a bit too long. It wouldn't have been a fine pilsner, but the slight buzz it imparted would have been recognizable & become sought after.  9 Who Performed the First Surgery? 11:27pm, 7000 ya. Trepanation (cutting out chunks of skull) is shown in the fossil record from this time & isn't uncommon since we hit each other in the head a lot. Often successful, too. Some mention of how warlike we were which is refreshing since that's been suppressed for decades by our government wouldn't fund studies for 'war'.  10 Who First Rode the Horse? 11:33pm, 5600 ya. Probably the Botai in northern Kazakhstan where the first bit for a bridle was discovered. Horses were domesticated before that for meat & milk, but not ridden until they could be controlled.  11 Who Invented the Wheel? 11:35pm, 5400 ya. Logs for rollers were used long before, but the first axle discovered on a potter's wheel in Mesopotamia & on toys after that. Good discussion about wheel & axle construction & how complex they really are. He mentions hooking oxen to carts, but he never mentioned the odd lag between the yoke & collar. IIRC, the collar wasn't invented until 1000 ya. It takes the pressure off the windpipe & thus allows the animal to pull much heavier loads more easily, especially important for horses. The shorter neck & more horizontal build of the ox means it doesn't need it as much.  12 Who Was the Murderer in the First Murder Mystery? 11:35pm, 5300 ya. Ötzi was found in the Swiss Alps in 1991, a shepherd probably murdered by another by an arrow shot from ambush. The fantastic preservation of the corpse & how much it has taught us about the times was interesting.  13 Who Was the First Person Whose Name We Know? 11:36pm, 5000 ya. He was a Mesopotamian accountant who signed his name on a clay tablet. Some discussion of early accounting & money.  14 Who Discovered Soap? 11:38pm, 4500 ya. She likely worked in Sumeria’s textile industry & found it out trying to wash lanolin out of wool. Discussion of how important soap has been to our health including a mention of Dr. Semmelweis.  15 Who Caught the First Case of Smallpox? 11:41pm, 4000 ya. Someone on the Horn of Africa first came into contact with the variola virus & he discusses how it killed more people throughout history than all the wars combined. We killed it off in 1977 save for cultures kept by the US & Soviets.  16 Who Told the First Joke We Know? 11:41pm, 4000 ya. Mesopotamian accounting grew to include some jokes, probably to help budding scribes learn.  17 Who Discovered Hawaii? 11:55pm, 1000 ya. Interesting discussion of South Pacific islanders & their explorations. Very cool.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    Who wants to know 'Who ate the first oyster?' It never crossed my mind. But now that I know from reading this interesting book - I want to know more about the FIRST of whatever. This book doesn't have a long list but instead, it has a nice little story on the 'First'. It is now on my coffee table where it belongs for others to read. Neat interesting book. Who wants to know 'Who ate the first oyster?' It never crossed my mind. But now that I know from reading this interesting book - I want to know more about the FIRST of whatever. This book doesn't have a long list but instead, it has a nice little story on the 'First'. It is now on my coffee table where it belongs for others to read. Neat interesting book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David

    This book earns the dubious distinction of being the best 2 star book I've ever read. The writing is fine, the stories are generally decent and there aren't any glaring faults but a short book like this, composed entirely of eight minute chapters, shouldn't have taken me nearly two weeks to read. I'm generally biased in favor of books with very short chapters; I tend to read more when it only takes a few minutes to get through a section as opposed to longer stretches, where I tend to stop more f This book earns the dubious distinction of being the best 2 star book I've ever read. The writing is fine, the stories are generally decent and there aren't any glaring faults but a short book like this, composed entirely of eight minute chapters, shouldn't have taken me nearly two weeks to read. I'm generally biased in favor of books with very short chapters; I tend to read more when it only takes a few minutes to get through a section as opposed to longer stretches, where I tend to stop more frequently. At around the halfway point I wondered if I'd first get to a consistently good chapter or the end of the book. I never found that very good chapter. Each chapter started out well enough but as the author got into the necessarily speculative sections of each story, and created the likely environment surrounding the first event described within, it started to feel too much like filler. I can see where the book would have its fans so if you're reading this and have your doubts compare your books to mine and see how compatible we are. I think anything over 70% is very compatible. I did say the book didn't have any glaring faults but one item did give me some pause. In the chapter about the first wheel the author mentioned the giant statues on Easter Island and how they were moved by putting them on logs and rolling them, but I saw a PBS show a few years ago that showed how the statues were moved by a system of ropes fastened across the tops of the statues and how they were walked into place. Unless the rope theory has been debunked I think it's more plausible than the rolling theory. This book was published in 2020 so it's not like the author couldn't have learned about it. Maybe he's right, I just don't care enough to explore the matter.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    Approximately 164 000 years ago someone ate the first oyster. It was probably as disgusting or a thing then as it is now. Or, you know, a grand culinary adventure of its time. Possibly both. At any rate, the idea is that at some time in the past there was a first person who did something that today we consider ordinary and quotidian (tell a joke, have a beer, etc.) without giving it a second thought. A pioneer. A revolutionary. A brave adventurous soul. Or, potentially, a complete lunatic. We don’ Approximately 164 000 years ago someone ate the first oyster. It was probably as disgusting or a thing then as it is now. Or, you know, a grand culinary adventure of its time. Possibly both. At any rate, the idea is that at some time in the past there was a first person who did something that today we consider ordinary and quotidian (tell a joke, have a beer, etc.) without giving it a second thought. A pioneer. A revolutionary. A brave adventurous soul. Or, potentially, a complete lunatic. We don’t know, but it is fun to speculate about. And that’s pretty much what this book does, it speculates, based on empirical evidence, extrapolations, suppositions, epistemology and imagination. The author, eruditely and engagingly spins 17 yarns of prehistoric and historic firsts in chronological order for reader’s entertainment and edification. To be fair, most of these firsts are imagined and named by the author based on the things mentioned above, you won’t actually know the name of the madman/madwoman who thought oysters look like food. They don’t, they look disgusting. But then again so much of the past is an educated guess, especially the further back in time you go, that the concept works. It’s a fun and easy read, very accessible, very much along the lines of pop science. This book is very much within my field of interest, so much of this I’ve already learned through other readings and educational programs, but there was still some interesting new information, plus I actually find it enjoyable to revisit familiar subjects, maybe from new angles, like the infamous death of Otsi or, as the book posits it, the first murder mystery. Enjoyable quick read, should be fun for both serious and casual fans of historical nonfiction, though probably aimed more toward the latter Certainly engaging enough to even potentially attract new interest to the genre. Definitely beats eating oysters. Recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy Ingalls

    I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I have always loved anthropology-- when I was around 7 or 8 years old, anthropologist was my answer to the ever-present "What do you want to be when you grow up" question. Needless to say, I loved this book. It was divided into short chapters detailing different firsts. Each section was well-researched and engaging. In fact, I found myself reading aloud sections to my husband because I found them so interesting. There were a few topics that I already knew I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. I have always loved anthropology-- when I was around 7 or 8 years old, anthropologist was my answer to the ever-present "What do you want to be when you grow up" question. Needless to say, I loved this book. It was divided into short chapters detailing different firsts. Each section was well-researched and engaging. In fact, I found myself reading aloud sections to my husband because I found them so interesting. There were a few topics that I already knew quite a bit about because of my college studies, but the author added an engaging, storyteller style that made me want to keep reading and learning more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Leah K

    This book goes over some firsts in the world - the wheel, the first joke, the first to eat an oyster (because who was the first to open up one of those slimy things and think "I should totally eat that thing that looks like a big booger"..). It was interesting. He did a lot of research and interviews. Obviously this book isn't set in stone - he focuses on the earliest person/culture found, to date, to have been involved (such as the earliest found remains that had oysters in it's tract) and how This book goes over some firsts in the world - the wheel, the first joke, the first to eat an oyster (because who was the first to open up one of those slimy things and think "I should totally eat that thing that looks like a big booger"..). It was interesting. He did a lot of research and interviews. Obviously this book isn't set in stone - he focuses on the earliest person/culture found, to date, to have been involved (such as the earliest found remains that had oysters in it's tract) and how they may have come across their invention or findings. That doesn't mean it truly is the earliest, but it's the best info we have for now. A fun, quick book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hana

    Very engaging, well-researched book. Does not claim to know every detail but offers a perspective on what might be true based on a wide variety of historical, anthropological, archaeological, etc resources. Would recommend for a fun, informative read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    4.5 stars. This quick, entertaining read (or listen, as I did) is full of interesting info about many millennial- and centuries-old firsts. I learned a lot from this book and highly recommend it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ryqn

    Enjoyable book. The stories are short, interesting and well written / researched. A good read if you want to learn some history - without getting too deep!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marije

    It was a nice change and the chapters were interesting and not boring at all, but sometimes the conclusions drawn or imaginary stories around the facts were a bit far stretched...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Thoroughly enjoyable and educational from beginning to end.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

    Intriguing and informative short essays on who discovered soap, who first rode a horse, who came up with the wheel and axle, and other topics. Some of what I learned: * Originally, horses were domesticated for their milk and meat, not to ride. * Horses can graze in snow, but sheep often cannot. * A camel can provide five gallons of milk per day. * The first wheel and axle was on a toy, which makes sense because creating a wheel and axle that actually work is so challenging that you'd have to start Intriguing and informative short essays on who discovered soap, who first rode a horse, who came up with the wheel and axle, and other topics. Some of what I learned: * Originally, horses were domesticated for their milk and meat, not to ride. * Horses can graze in snow, but sheep often cannot. * A camel can provide five gallons of milk per day. * The first wheel and axle was on a toy, which makes sense because creating a wheel and axle that actually work is so challenging that you'd have to start small. * The first bow and arrow set was almost certainly a toy. * Some inventions take thousands of years to spread, but the wheel and axle were so beneficial that they spread widely within a few generations. * The first person whose name we know was an accountant. * Written humor was invented to keep scribes from getting too bored. I remember when Ötzi the Iceman was discovered, and people were so awestruck and so confused about how his body had been so well preserved. Then about 10 years later, scientists finally realized that someone had murdered him by shooting him with an arrow. The murderer removed the arrow and buried the corpse in snow. So the murder was not only discovered, but also the corpse is probably the most examined human body on Earth.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    The author purports to make this book about individuals, and indeed starts the book off with a whole essay about how we are starting to be able to learn about individuals even from the distant past, but then the book itself is totally about general peoples and not specific individuals. He'll give the person who first invented a bow and arrow a name, but then say, "He was probably between 5' and 6', with dark skin and curly hair" or something like that — basically describing the qualities of the p The author purports to make this book about individuals, and indeed starts the book off with a whole essay about how we are starting to be able to learn about individuals even from the distant past, but then the book itself is totally about general peoples and not specific individuals. He'll give the person who first invented a bow and arrow a name, but then say, "He was probably between 5' and 6', with dark skin and curly hair" or something like that — basically describing the qualities of the people he comes from. This is basically describing population-level information as a biography by making it a biography of some non-existent average person. I think the actual book itself suffers from this as well, because in order to fit the narrative to the framing device, he has to stretch the science quite considerably, and he is also required to gloss over many details about how we know what we know, since it would be quite inconvenient if the answer to 90% of these things is, "Well it probably evolved gradually over time but there may have been punctuated equilibria set off by individuals, and we basically don't know right now." It was an ambitious book, but unfortunately I think its reach exceeds its grasp.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tom Ragaert

    Great read! I want to share my favorite line, which is eerily topical as it comes from the chapter on the Smallpox (variola) virus... "As it replicated trillions of times, and made millions of mistakes, the virus would ocassionally stumble upon an improved variation and increase its rate of infection. Through natural selection, the new version would have soon become the dominant one and the process would repeat. There is no intelligence behind its adaptations. The virus is a million monkeys in fr Great read! I want to share my favorite line, which is eerily topical as it comes from the chapter on the Smallpox (variola) virus... "As it replicated trillions of times, and made millions of mistakes, the virus would ocassionally stumble upon an improved variation and increase its rate of infection. Through natural selection, the new version would have soon become the dominant one and the process would repeat. There is no intelligence behind its adaptations. The virus is a million monkeys in front of keyboards, and variola is their Hamlet."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I won this book through Goodread's First Reads, I thought a look at human firsts would be interesting. The book is well researched and all of the speculation to fill-in-the-blanks is logical. It's a good read. I won this book through Goodread's First Reads, I thought a look at human firsts would be interesting. The book is well researched and all of the speculation to fill-in-the-blanks is logical. It's a good read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    short, quick little fun facts. A lot of it was covered by Sapiens, but i did get my answer about where oysters came from. I also liked the method of how the author gave names to those whose names have been lost in time

  22. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Kelley

    I would rate this book at 3.5 stars. This is not a book that is a little bit of something about everything. This will be to the beginning of man anywhere from 3,000 to 100,000 years ago and gives you points to ponder like the title says who ate the first oyster ? Author ponders it was a female. Who rode the first horse, made the first wheel and various subjects. There is good information to at least make you stop and wonder along with strong evidence to back it up. Those that are a little more cr I would rate this book at 3.5 stars. This is not a book that is a little bit of something about everything. This will be to the beginning of man anywhere from 3,000 to 100,000 years ago and gives you points to ponder like the title says who ate the first oyster ? Author ponders it was a female. Who rode the first horse, made the first wheel and various subjects. There is good information to at least make you stop and wonder along with strong evidence to back it up. Those that are a little more creation base may have a few issues with this book but hey it is interesting none the less. Most of the chapters are 10 to 15 minute reads that being said they have lot of information. Either sit down and read this in one sitting or read a chapter here and there.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ben Rogers

    Really enjoyed this one. Fascinating discoveries! 4.2/5

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mrs. DL

    This was so fun to read. Can't imagine how much time this investigation must have taken, but now common folks like me can know a little bit more of history, anthropology, and science. This was so fun to read. Can't imagine how much time this investigation must have taken, but now common folks like me can know a little bit more of history, anthropology, and science.

  25. 5 out of 5

    G.R. Matthews

    Interesting stuff An engaging and week written account of the history of the world told by the first person to... invent or do something extraordinary.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Listened to audio book. Kept me engaged. Good for history fans

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anne Morgan

    It's a question we've all pondered at some point: Who first decided to . . . ? In Cody Cassidy's new book Who Ate the First Oyster? Cassidy's research helps give us a better understanding of some of the most important firsts in human history- and why they are so important. From eating the first oyster to drinking the first beer, riding the first horse, or first getting smallpox, each chapter covers a different period in human evolution and the "first" that propelled us onward. Even more importan It's a question we've all pondered at some point: Who first decided to . . . ? In Cody Cassidy's new book Who Ate the First Oyster? Cassidy's research helps give us a better understanding of some of the most important firsts in human history- and why they are so important. From eating the first oyster to drinking the first beer, riding the first horse, or first getting smallpox, each chapter covers a different period in human evolution and the "first" that propelled us onward. Even more important, and interesting (to me anyway), he personalizes the discoveries and inventions by bringing the anonymous people responsible for these "firsts" back into the limelight they so richly deserve. Cassidy's writing style is casual and full of humor, yet the reader has no doubt that this is an author who has done his research and isn't just making everything up. While the actual person Cassidy credits the "first" to isn't necessarily a historic figure, they are the general figure. For example, 'Oyster Girl' may or may not have been what the person who ate the first oyster was actually called, but Cassidy describes what her life would have been like based on archaeological evidence, why the chance is good it was a woman, why eating oysters hadn't been done before, and why we should care. The science is presented to the reader in an understandable manner, making it accessible to anyone instead of Ph.Ds only. Each chapter was both entertaining and informative and I found myself wishing I'd be able to remember more of the factoids than I inevitable would- but also thinking this was a book I would enjoy re-reading to remember more with each pass. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    An engaging and well-written look at some rather unusual history/science topics. The author delves into research to uncover stories behind questions you may have pondered yourself, and does so with a great sense of humour. (My history major son grabbed this as soon as I'd finished it, and he was equally impressed.) *I won this through a Goodreads giveaway. An engaging and well-written look at some rather unusual history/science topics. The author delves into research to uncover stories behind questions you may have pondered yourself, and does so with a great sense of humour. (My history major son grabbed this as soon as I'd finished it, and he was equally impressed.) *I won this through a Goodreads giveaway.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    There have been times I wondered who did eat the first oyster, along with other firsts. In this book you learn about 17 different firsts and who achieved them. While some of it is speculation there are a lot of interesting facts and it left me with a sense of how big our history really is and a wish that I had taken at least one anthropology class in college. My favorite was the "Who was the first murderer in the first murder mystery." Though really all of them were quite appealing and presented There have been times I wondered who did eat the first oyster, along with other firsts. In this book you learn about 17 different firsts and who achieved them. While some of it is speculation there are a lot of interesting facts and it left me with a sense of how big our history really is and a wish that I had taken at least one anthropology class in college. My favorite was the "Who was the first murderer in the first murder mystery." Though really all of them were quite appealing and presented nicely.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    Breezy jouney through three hundred years of human history. Good for someone who likes Bill Bryson or Mary Roach. The stuff about studying a 5,000 year old frozen murder victim to leaen about diet, climate, economy, and more was probably my favorite bit.

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