Civilizations (Key Porter) is a great big book by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, author of Millennium: A History of Our Last Thousand Years, and clearly a writer undaunted by great themes, such as how the generations of human beings all over the planet and through all of human time have changed the earth around them and called it civilization. Merely as a triumph of non-urban-centrism, this is a tour de force. Here is the rise and the fall of cultures, of civilizations, given without the usual assumptions that the culture of the West is the result or the nemesis of an evolutionary progression. The book provides good complementary reading to Hugh Brody’s The Other Side of Eden (featured in Geist No. 39).