The Pillars of Civilization Hold Up

David Vandermeulen

In the follow-up to Sapiens: A Graphic History, Volume 1 - The Birth of Humankind Harari takes us through the Agricultural Revolution and the beginnings of human civilization. He explores how this domestication process has really plaid out.

The sequel picks up where the first story left off. We are reunited with the same characters in the previous graphic novel and continue to learn more about humanity's history. I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of this one since I finished the last one, so it's no surprise that I enjoyed it just as much.

While the first book was mostly focused on archeological and anthropological findings, this one focuses on the sociology and philosophy of human history. Harari begins with the agricultural revolution and continues to tell the story of how humans built society on shared beliefs and myths. I enjoyed his debates if the agricultural revolution really leads to less work and more reliability. I respect how he outlines where historians agree and disagree without the fear to say "we just don't know" about some things.

Vandermeulen's illustrations are as creative and engaging as before. The frames are humorous and interesting. The adaptation of history for the entertainment value of the graphic novel is really fun. One that I enjoyed the most is the personification of wheat as a Satan-like character. The book also has some cameos with several popular historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, Margaret Thatcher, Franz Kafka, and John Lenon as characters.

I really loved this one. I found it educational, entertaining, and genuinely fun to read. His arguments about the history of fiction and analysis of how society is founded on agreed-upon myths are insightful and deep. The book has real food for thought wrapped up in a fun comic.


Graphic Novels