No society on Earth lacks beliefs about where it has come from, its place in the world, and the connection of individuals to the eternal. Until recently, it was widely assumed that religion was on the wane almost everywhere- now, far from becoming marginalised, the relationship between faith and society has moved to the centre of politics and global conversation. Neil MacGregor's new book traces how different societies have understood and articulated their place in the cosmic scheme. He examines mankind's beliefs not from the perspective of institutional religions, but by focusing on the shared narratives that have shaped societies - and on what happens when different narratives run up against each other. MacGregor brilliantly turns his kaleidoscope of objects, places and ideas to set these pressing contemporary concerns in the long perspectives of time and place.