Home: How Habitat Made Us Human
by John S. Allen
Basic Books, 2016 (($28.99))
“Home is not simply a location on the landscape where a person lives; it has a privileged place in our cognition,” neuroanthropologist Allen writes. Whether you live in a tepee or a town house, “home” should ideally mean a sense of safety, comfort and well-being. It satisfies our need for shelter from the elements, a place to rest and recover, protection from predators and access to mates. The concept of home, Allen explains, divides the world in two: a domestic domain and everything else, simplifying the otherwise intimidating expanse around us. He investigates the neuroscience and psychology of “feeling at home” and how that feeling has granted an adaptive advantage to the human species, enabling the advances in culture and technology that separate us from our primate cousins. At a time when many people around the world lack a place to call their own, Allen shows why we all deserve one.