Who are the Europeans? Where did they come from? In recent years scientific advances have yielded a mass of new data, turning accepted ideas upside down. In this highly readable account, Jean Manco skilfully weaves the multiple strands of the very latest genetic evidence with archaeology, history and linguistics to produce a startling new history of Europe. Her fast-paced narrative is illustrated with numerous specially commissioned maps and diagrams showing the movements of people, the spread of languages and DNA distributions, as well as photographs and drawings. Completely up to date and unprecedented in the scope, breadth and depth of its research, this paradigm-shifting book paints a spirited portrait of a restless people that challenges our established ways of looking at Europe's past and its people. It will be of great interest to the growing number of people who want to trace their ancestry through DNA and understand what the results mean.
Her time span ranges from the deepest past up to the Viking age, and presents a lot of information of which I was not aware -- a lot of which focusses on how fast populations actually have changed. The Slavs, for example, appear to have emerged well into the first millenium. Another key point she emphasizes is that cultures retreat as well as advancing, due to sickness, climate change, or war. She stresses that population dropped sharply in many areas on many occasions.
My only quarrel with the book is that I found it tedious at time. That is likely to be more my fault than the authors (haplogroup analysis is critical, but I don't know enough to find it thrilling). In addition to this book, however, I would recommend "The Horse, The Wheel and Language" by David Anthony. This book is a tad older than Manco's (2007) but for whatever reason I found it even more interesting. How fortunate history buffs like me are to live in a period when research is uncovering so much about unwritten human history!