How Tropical Forests Shaped World History – and Us


Brought to you by Penguin.

Jungle tells the remarkable story of the world's tropical forests, from the arrival of the first plants millions of years ago to the role of tropical forests in the evolution of the world's atmosphere, the dinosaurs, the first mammals and even our own species and ancestors.

Highlighting provocative new evidence garnered from cutting-edge research, Dr Roberts shows, for example, that our view of humans as 'savannah specialists' is wildly wrong, and that the 'Anthropocene' began not with the Industrial Revolution, but potentially as early as 6,000 years ago in the tropics.

We see that the relationship between humankind and 'jungles' is deep-rooted, that we are all connected to their destruction, and that we must all act to save them. Urgent, clear-sighted and original, Jungle challenges the way we think about the world - and ourselves.

© Patrick Roberts 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021


  • Jungle is a bold, ambitious and truly wonderful history of the world that shows the vital importance of tropical forests to life on Earth
    Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees

About the author

Patrick Roberts

Dr Patrick Roberts is W2 Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany. He completed his PhD at Oxford University and has worked in tropical forests across the Amazon Basin, the lowlands of Sri Lanka, the Wet Tropics of Australia, and the island settings of Wallacea and wider Pacific. Recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including a European Research Council Starter Grant (€1.5 Million), he has written or co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and his work has featured on the BBC, Channel 4 and in The Times, among others. He is the author of the academic book Tropical Forest Prehistory, History and Modernity (OUP, 2019) and this is his first for a general readership.
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