Blood of the Isles: Exploring the Genetic Roots of Our Tribal History

Blood of the Isles Exploring the Genetic Roots of Our Tribal History Bryan Sykes the world s first genetic archaeologist takes us on a journey around the family tree of Britain and Ireland to reveal how our tribal history still colours the country today In BC Juli

  • Title: Blood of the Isles: Exploring the Genetic Roots of Our Tribal History
  • Author: Bryan Sykes
  • ISBN: 9780593056523
  • Page: 250
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Bryan Sykes, the world s first genetic archaeologist, takes us on a journey around the family tree of Britain and Ireland, to reveal how our tribal history still colours the country today.In 54BC Julius Caesar launched the first Roman invasion of Britain His was the first detailed account of the Celtic tribes that inhabited the Isles But where had they come from and howBryan Sykes, the world s first genetic archaeologist, takes us on a journey around the family tree of Britain and Ireland, to reveal how our tribal history still colours the country today.In 54BC Julius Caesar launched the first Roman invasion of Britain His was the first detailed account of the Celtic tribes that inhabited the Isles But where had they come from and how long had they been there When the Roman eventually left five hundred years later, they were succeeded by invasions of Anglo Saxons, Vikings and Normans Did these successive invasions obliterate the genetic legacy of the Celts, or have very little effect After two decades tracing the genetic origins of peoples from all over the world, Bryan Sykes has now turned the spotlight on his own back yard In a major research programme, the first of its kind, he and his team at Oxford University set out to test the DNA of over 10,000 volunteers from across Britain and Ireland with the specific aim of answering this very question what is our modern genetic make up and what does it tell us of our tribal past Where are today s Celtic genes Did Vikings only rape and pillage, or settle with their families And what of the genetic legacy of the Saxons and the Normans Are the modern people of the Isles a delicious genetic cocktail Or did the invaders keep mostly to themselves forming separate genetic layers within the Isles And where do you fit in As his findings came in, Bryan Sykes discovered that the genetic evidence revealed often very different stories to the conventional accounts coming from history and archaeology Blood of the Isles reveals the nature of our genetic make up as never before and what this says about our attitudes to ourselves, each other, and to our past It is a gripping story that will fascinate and surprise with its conclusions.

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    About “Bryan Sykes”

    1. Bryan Sykes

      Bryan Sykes is professor of genetics at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford University and the author of the national bestseller The Seven Daughters of Eve.

    729 thoughts on “Blood of the Isles: Exploring the Genetic Roots of Our Tribal History”

    1. The Mamas and the Papas! Three and a half stars.This was a really fascinating story and for the most part very well told. Sykes' descriptions of the geologic upheavals and the great moving ice sheets that shaped 'The Isles' (Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England) were thrilling.He paints a magnificent picture of the tiny bands of pioneer humans who braved tundra and seas to migrate from Iberia, the first around 10,000 years ago in the Paleolithic era. They were followed by a second small group of [...]


    2. Several years ago, when I was in Scotland, I took a class on the Picts. They are a very elusive people surrounded by mythology and historians have had trouble pinning down realistic information about them, so there have been numerous myths about them propagated over the years. Serious historians of the Picts have fairly recently decided they were almost definitely a Celtic people who were related to more to the Celts of southern Britain rather than the Gaels (who are the primary ancestors of mod [...]


    3. This excellent book by Bryan Sykes was a really great read about my own ancestors. I have always been interested in the history of Britain and Ireland and was always curious about the allure of the tiny little isles in the North Sea. Sykes documents the ancestry of the Isles by volunteer DNA samples through blood donors and booths at country fairs. Some of the people in these areas haven't moved in generations and many of the strains are surprisingly consistant. It was revealing to learn that so [...]


    4. I was not sure what to expect with this one. I've read a lot of articles about genetic archeology leading up to opening this book and I have already had some idea of how gentic science works. I have also read other critiques of Sykes as a scientist and researcher as well as critiques of other books he's written by other scientists. So far, few doubt the completeness or impact of his work in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom. I will admit when I saw his website and the prices for having yo [...]


    5. This is a totally engrossing book for anyone interested in British history or in genetics. The crux of the book is DNA and the genetic origins of the British people but is explained in such a beautiful way that you do not need to be a genetic scientist to understand it. In fact, myself, who has no scientific background fully understood it and found it extremely fascinating.As Bryan Sykes explains 'this is living history, told by the real survivors of the times. the DNA that still lives within ou [...]


    6. The author, billed as the world's first genetic archaeologist, describes a multi-year project to examine the DNA of the people of the (British) Isles. The DNA of the Y chromosome reveals hints at where our male ancestors came from, and the mitochondrial DNA where the female ancestors originated. He mixes an abbreviated scientific summary with the earliest history of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, and attempts to look at how the evidence fits with what we know and the legend of our ancient [...]


    7. "Saxons, Vikings and Celts" wants to be a hybrid of history, science and memoir. Instead it is a book with an identity crisis as pronounced as anything suffered by the Scottish malcontents who agitate for secession from the UK. That's a shame, because the book has a fine premise and Bryan Sykes is a respected authority in his field. The problem lies in execution. Whereas the best science writers make their ideas digestible with clear prose and grounded examples, Sykes relies on lengthy tangents [...]


    8. Even though this was not fiction, this was really a page-turner for me. Most of my heritage is English-Irish-Scottish, so I was incredibly intrigued to read about the studies that Bryan Sykes and his colleagues have been involved in regarding the genetic history of the British Isles. I've always had a keen interest in both my personal genealogy and in genetics in general, and this brought it all together for me, as well as placing it in an historical frame of reference. Based upon previous resea [...]


    9. Fascinating study presented in layman's terms explaining the genetic history of the British Isles. Probably the most startling result of his work, and that of other geneticists as well, is that 'lost' peoples such as the Picts of Scotland or Celts generally in England did not vanish genetically even if they did culturally. They live on in all of us of British descent. Other points of interest include the apparent confirmation that legends of Celtic migration from the Middle East through Iberia t [...]


    10. I really enjoyed the history and scientific data parts of this. I think this could gave been much shorter if the author didn't include stories about their journey to collect the DNA. I don't care to hear about how a lab assistant quit to pursue a career in law.This book takes a look at what makes someone who they are and contributing factors such as war and invasion.



    11. I am clearly in the minority when I give this book a low rating. It has a fascinating premise and some interesting parts; but so much of the book felt like a sales pitch mixed with academic lectures and senseless banter. Each chapter was more like a teaser for something further along. Finally, everything is brought together in the final chapterdry little enlightenment. The concept of tracing people around the globe to seven matriarchs and twenty-plus patriarchs is an interesting idea embedded in [...]


    12. Early in the second chapter Professor Sykes writes:"I have more than once found that oral myths are closer to the genetic conclusions than the often ambiguous scientific evidence of archaeology. Hawakiki, the legendary homeland of the Polynesians, was said to be located among the islands of Indonesia, and genetics proved it. The Hazara tribe of north-west Pakistan had a strong oral myth of descent from the first Mongol emperor, Ghengis Khan, and his genes are still there to this day. These are j [...]


    13. I borrowed this from Larry's sil over Father's Day weekend, so I've begun it, so I can return it. Fascinating premise I must say.I started thinking 4.5 star rating, but this book really is amazing, so I upped it to 5. A complicated subject - the DNA of the British Isles - written is so comprehensible a way that even I understood most of it - a good percentage at least. I am NOT a scientist, but Sykes writes so well, and warns you when he might need to be a bit more scientific in what he's writin [...]


    14. This is an extremely important book that all history lovers should read. The author demonstrates that the genetic profile of the population is highly similar throughout all of the British Isles. This suggests that the various invasions that England underwent (German, Norse, and Norman for example) touched primarily the government and the elites. The actual population of England was barely impacted.The similarities in the genetic profiles of the people living in the celtic regions of the British [...]


    15. What a great idea for a book and a scientific exploration of dna. What a horrible example of the execution of a book. Just plain badly written. And yet the idea of mixing the history, stories and myths with the location of differences of mutation in genes in a particular place, is an awesome one. And yet the science and the statistics of the book itself should have been so much better. I learned quite a bit from this one, but there was quite the opportunity to learn more.


    16. This is a totally engrossing book for anyone interested in British history or in genetics. The crux of the book is DNA and the genetic origins of the British people but is explained in such a beautiful way that you do not need to be a genetic scientist to understand it. In fact, myself, who has no scientific background fully understood it and found it extremely fascinating.As Bryan Sykes explains 'this is living history, told by the real survivors of the times. the DNA that still lives within ou [...]


    17. SAXONS, VIKINGS, AND CELTS: THE GENETIC ROOTS OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND BY BRYAN SYKES: Bryan Sykes, author of The Seven Daughters of Eve and Adam’s Curse, professor of human genetics at Oxford university, has spent many years of his life studying genes, chromosomes, and DNA; specializing in collecting data from all over the world and tracing ancestral lineages back thousands of years. Sykes was one of the instrumental geneticists in tracing all Europeans back to seven ancestral women. From this, [...]


    18. Oh my goodness was this a difficult read. The book itself was actually very good, but I gave it a four due to the fact that my librarian brain-power wasn't handling the talk of genetics very well.Bryan Sykes, a geneticist in the UK, takes the reader on a journey of the history of the Isles through genetics. He starts by giving the written history we know through people such as Geoffrey of Monmouth (King Arthur), then the Saxon ideal. From there he discusses the beginning of genetically profiling [...]


    19. A great introduction to genetic genealogy. Written for the complete layman. It is clear, concise, balanced and fair. It contains enough historical and archeological background to put the genetic data in context and is packed with anecdotes and stories from the coal face of population genetics. Anyone from Britain or Ireland who is interested in their roots should read this. I've had my genotyping done by the National Genographic and I've spent the last few months immersed in academic papers tryi [...]


    20. Absolutely fascinating - our genes don't lie and by mapping the genetics of the British Isles we can get some idea of where the people come from. The old theory of the previous inhabitants being replaced by waves of invaders appears not to be the case. A more likely scenario is that the original inhabitants that settled in the British Isles after the end of the ice age are still there. The waves of invaders had some impact but not to totally replace the previous population. All this is borne out [...]


    21. The result of a very ambitious project (taking DNA samples from countless Britons and Irishmen in order to determine the genetic origin of the various peoples of the Isles), this follow-up to The Seven Daughters of Eve compares genetic evidence to accepted "history," popular belief, and oral tradition – and often reaches surprising conclusions.Like John Sadler (author of Border Fury), Sykes is a delightful rarity in this day and age: a highly intelligent, highly educated man who writes in an e [...]


    22. I was pretty disappointed with this book. It seemed to build quite a bit on material that the author apparently covered in "The Seven Daughters of Eve," which, unfortunately, I had not read. Plus, the author kept apologizing for presenting "technical" material. I'm sorry, it's a book about genetics. Wouldn't any reader of a book on this topic expect technical discussion? It's not like we're squirming in our seats every time we read the word "mitochondria." At least, I hope not.Other reviewers of [...]


    23. I loved this book. I had my doubts about it; having never read anything by him and being as much of an Anglophile as I am, I didn't know what to expect and was terrified that my love of all things related to the Isles might have been shattered. But much to my relief, this book about genetics became somewhat magical for me. I felt the way I did as I was finishing Sir Gibbie by George Macdonald, I didn't want the magic of it all to end. Incredible book; very interesting; well delivered; easy to un [...]


    24. This is intended for a general public, not for the specialist. Just about everything the British reader needs to know about the genetic and archeological evidence about the origin of the British peoples. It's very clear, well organized, I liked it a lot. The only thing about this sort of book is that two weeks later I hardly remember a date, a region, a fact --- so one really ought to have this book on a bookshelf or coffee table and have the whole family read it and discuss it. And it probably [...]


    25. If you are interested in genealogy,you will like this book. Blood tests and cheek swabs of the people of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England tells the stories of the invaders,conquerors and the natives of these ancient lands. I found it interesting that only certain parts of Scotland showed a high percentage of Viking ancestry and others a high percentage of celtic/pictish origins. They were also able to tell that certain parts of British Isle, the relationship between the vikings and celtic w [...]


    26. It's fascinating to learn about the early inhabitants of the British Isles, and their links to the present inhabitants. It makes me want to send in my DNA to find out how I'm related; with surnames like Teaffe, Davis, Morton, and Hughes in my family tree there's no doubt I'm of Celtic heritage. It would be such fun to see which of the seven clan mothers I'm descended from. But this book is more than that; it seeks to learn how much of the Isles' population is actually descended from the Vikings [...]


    27. Written by one of the world’s leading geneticists from Oxford University, Bryan Sykes has helped thousands find their ancestry in the British Isles. This book resulted from a ten-year DNA survey of more than 10,000 volunteers, and traces the true genetic makeup of the British Isles and its descendants. Starting with ancient paleolithic and mesolithic findings, Sykes takes readers from the Pontnewydd cave in North Wales to the resting place of “The Red Lady” of Paviland, to the legend and t [...]


    28. Way more history than I was expecting. Went off on weird tangents, like talking about the results being coins and how he would pile the coins up. I really didn't appreciate his rant about numbers hiding real life. This book was a lot longer than it needed to be and his efforts to make it more interesting, make the data breathe, just made it too long-winded. The plus was being able to learn more about how all the pieces fit together genetically/historically.


    29. Very Interesting, especially if you are interested in history, science, language, genetics, genealogy, any or all of the above. He is an interesting story teller. I came to these a decade late. However, given the proclivity of genetic testing now, it is of more timely explanation of what people are doing when they swab their mouths to find out what haplogroup they belong to.


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