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Biohistory - Cambridge Scholars Publishing

This April, Cambridge Scholars Publishing is delighted to announce the publication of Biohistory by Dr Jim Penman, an innovative, new scientific theory that explores the biological and behavioural underpinnings of social change, including the rise and fall of civilisations.

Informed by significant research into the physiological basis of behaviour, Biohistory examines how a complex interplay between culture and biology has shaped civilisations from the Roman Empire to the present day.


Penman proposes that historical changes are driven by variations in the prevailing temperament of populations, based on physiological mechanisms that adapt animal behaviour to changing food conditions. Biohistory details the history of human society by mapping the effects of these epigenetic changes on cultures, and on historical tipping points, such as wars and revolutions. Furthermore, it shows how laboratory studies can be used to explain broad social and economic changes, including the fortunes of entire civilizations.

The author’s startling conclusion is that the West is in a state of decline and collapse, but hope may lie with the biological sciences. Drawing on the disciplines of history, biology, anthropology and economics, Biohistory is the first theory of society that can be tested with some rigour in the laboratory. It explains how environment, cultural values and childrearing patterns determine whether societies prosper or collapse, and how social change can be both predicted—and potentially modified—through biochemistry.


For more information about Biohistory, watch the introductory documentary below. Further video content will become available over the coming weeks.



Dr Jim Penman received his PhD in History from La Trobe University, Australia. His doctorate integrated broad historical changes with cross-cultural anthropology and aspects of animal behaviour.

To date, Dr Penman has co-authored ten peer-reviewed papers in leading journals including Behavioral Brain Research and Physiology and Behavior. Findings so far include a method of dramatically improving the maternal behaviour of rats, with far-reaching effects on offspring. These studies also make clear that the observed patterns are epigenetic in origin, supporting Biohistory’s broader social and historical observations.


To find out more, please click here to read a sample extract and contents page.

We are offering all our readers a 20% discount on this innovative new title. To redeem your discount, please enter the promotional code BIOHISTORY15 during checkout. Please note that this is a time-limited offer that will expire on 20th May, 2015.

Please see below for highlights of the praise that this book has already been receiving:


“The most powerful books tend to challenge common wisdom and widespread beliefs. Jim Penman does that in this volume.”

—Dr Steven A. Peterson, Professor of Politics and Public Affairs and Director of the School of Public Affairs, Penn State Harrisburg

“A theory which only the unwise will ignore.”

—Dr Michael T. McGuire, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science, University of California at Los Angeles

“If a fraction of the argument presented […] is borne out, it will shatter mainstream political science and grand history.”

—Dr Frank Salter, Principal, Social Technologies Pty Ltd; Senior Fellow, International Strategic Studies Association

“Biohistory surpasses all existing efforts to explain the major patterns of human history both in originality and scientific potential”

—Dr Ricardo Duchesne, Department of Social Science, University of New Brunswick Saint John


Biohistory by Dr Jim Penman is available now, priced £29.99/$49.95. For more information visit www.biohistory.org

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