Donovan Webster brings his vivid journalistic gifts to a new subject, tracing our deep genealogy using cutting-edge DNA research to map our eons-old journey from prehistoric Africa into the modern world. With the same genetic haplotype as many white American males, Webster makes an ideal subject—he is a genuine Everyman. While his voice and spirit are unique to him, in exploring his own ancestry, he shows us our own.
Drawing on National Geographic’s Genographic Project, the largest anthropologic DNA study of its kind, Webster traces centuries of migrations, everywhere finding members of his now far-flung genetic family. In Tanzania’s Rift Valley, he hunts with Julius, whose tribe speaks a click language, and wanders the ruins of ancient Mesopotamia with Mohamed and Khalid, now Jordanian citizens. In Samarkand, Uzbekistan, eastern frontier of his ancestral roaming, a circus ringmaster becomes both friend and link to his primal bloodline.
Webster’s genographic quest leads him to contemplate what traits he shares with those he meets, and considers what they and their ways of life reveal about the deep history of our species. A lifetime of journalistic travels among a wide range of cultures furnish Webster with a wealth of colorful threads to weave into a story as particularly personal as it is universally human.