Into the Past

A Memoir Memorial Edition
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Dimensions and Pages: 234 x 153 mm, 344 pp
  • EAN: 978 177010 343 6
  • Rights: World
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 240.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): n/a

Phillip Vallentine Tobias (1925-2012) was one of South Africa’s most honoured and decorated scientists. Best known for his pioneering work at South Africa’s famous hominid fossil sites, in the course of his career he developed the reputation of being one of the world’s leading authorities on the evolution of humankind. He was also justly proud of his ‘10 000 children’, the medical and dental students he taught at the University of the Witwatersrand between 1945 and 1993.

The original edition of Into the Past focused on the first 40 years of Tobias’s life, from his troubled childhood in Durban and Bloemfontein to his intense student days at Wits University, and the prolific research, correspondence and travels of his early career. It also contained vivid accounts of his interactions with some of the great names in twentieth century science – such as Raymond Dart, Robert Broom, Wilfrid LeGros Clark and Theodosius Dobzhansky – as well as their impact on him.

In this memorial edition, material from an unfinished second part of his autobiography describes his collaboration with Louis and Mary Leakey on the fossil remains they found in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. The challenges Tobias and the Leakeys collectively posed to the international scientific community, and the far-reaching consequences their analysis of the finds would have on our understanding of Africa as the birth-place of modern humans, are recounted in Tobias’ inimitable style, and they make for riveting reading.

A new introduction provides a moving reflection on the loss and legacy of one of South Africa’s best-known and loved scholars and humanists, whose scientific achievements are matched by his love of people, teaching, books, theatre, music, travel – as well as cricket and tea.

Into the Past is available from Panmacmillan.

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