Book Review: Human Migration

Human Migration:  Investigate The Global Journey Of Mankind, by Judy Doge Cummings

It is easy to appreciate and even respect what this book is trying to accomplish.  If the author has agendas that I am definitely hostile to, and that is certainly the case here, one can at least see something positive in what the author was aiming and that is worth something at least.  Still, this was a book that I found irritating and personally insulting, and the author could certainly have gone about the material in a way that was a lot better.  In general, I find the constant bigotry and hostility against white men to be intolerable and this book just kept on with the constant anti-white racism and anti-male sexism in its “amusing” cartoons that supplemented the text, and this continual irritation made the book impossible to join and makes it impossible to recommend.  If one cannot make one’s points about the joys of investigating human journeys in a way that does not attack a substantial body of its potential readers, one ought to find another career other than an author of educational materials.  Such leftist activism has no place in education and makes such an author a personal enemy of my own to be treated accordingly.

This book is a short one at a bit more than 100 pages and it is divided into seven chapters.  The author mixes text with a lot of maps, images, and various demonstration experiments to help the reader practice investigation into migration.  The book begins with a timeline and then the author seeks to define migration, a term that is of course related to immigration and emigration (1).  This leads to a discussion of the stones, bones, and DNA that are used for evidence of prehistoric migrations before the historical record exists.  The author discusses the migration of human beings according to the Out of Africa theory  (2) and then deals with the timing and nature of the migration of humankind from Asia to Australia (3) and some debates about this topic.  There is a discussion of the movement into the New World and its timing (4) as well as the expansion and colonization of lands that occurred in the historical period (5).  The author, somewhat tediously, deals with questions of oppression and freedom as they relate to migration (6) and ponders the future of human migration (7), after which there is a glossary, resources, and index.

Nevertheless, even if the author clearly bungles how she handles her material, there is enough here of worth that one could think that a more skillful author and one who was less intent on attacking her reading audience could deal with the subject of investigating human migrations in a thoughtful way that would be entertaining and inspiring to young readers.  Such an author would have to restructure the material, to be sure, and would also have to approach the topic of human migration in a way that did not automatically presume to attack the migrations of white settler colonists on the one hand while being far more gracious to equally imperialistic Bantu colonists, and which did not look at the Atlantic slave trade without also taking into account the Islamic slave trade or the human trafficking going on to this day in places like Southeast Asia.  If blame whitey is an easy enough marketing strategy when it comes to publishing educational works these days, it makes for a poor approach to study human history or, perhaps just as importantly if not more, what we are to do about the historical heritage that we deal with in the aftermath of so many migrations.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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