This remarkable book is the most ambitious work on mythology since that of the renowned Mircea Eliade, who all but single-handedly invented the modern study of myth and religion. Focusing on the oldest available texts, buttressed by data from archeology, comparative linguistics and humanpopulation genetics, Michael Witzel reconstructs a single original African source for our collective myths, dating back some 100,000 years. Identifying features shared by this "Out of Africa" mythology and its northern Eurasian offshoots, Witzel suggests that these common myths -- ecounted by the communities of the "African Eve" - are the earliest evidence of ancient spirituality. Moreover these common features, Witzel shows, survivetoday in all major religions. Witzel's book is an intellectual hand grenade that will doubtless generate considerable excitement - and consternation - in the scholarly community. Indeed, everyone interested in mythology will want to grapple with Witzel's extraordinary hypothesis about thespirituality of our common ancestors, and to understand what it tells us about our modern cultures and the way they are linked at the deepest level.