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The Last Day of Eden

Napolean A. Chagnon

Pages: 310
Price: $14.95
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Pub Date: 1992
ISBN: 0156996820

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Table of Contents >
Author's Preface
Note on the Spelling and Pronunciation of Yanomamo Words
Introduction 1
Ch. 1 Chronicle of a Naba's Adventures in Yanomamoland 5
Ch. 2 The World Around the Yanomamo 55
Ch. 3 Myth and Cosmos 116
Ch. 4 Daily Life, the Family, and Society 142
Ch. 5 The Art, Politics, and Etiquette of Entertaining Guests 182
Ch. 6 Yanomamo Taba Waiteri: Yanomamo Are Fierce 213
Ch. 7 Acculturation and the Future 242
Acknowledgments 295
Suggested Additional Readings 301
Index 303


Description >
Based on the author's extensive fieldwork, this classic ethnography, now in its fifth edition, focuses on the Yanomamo. These truly remarkable South American people are one of the few primitive sovereign tribal societies left on earth. Changes in this new edition include events and changes that have occurred since 1992, including a recent trip by the author to the Brazilian Yanomamo in 1995. A new chapter (Chapter 7) examines the author's long-term research in the village of Mishimishimabowei-teri. 

Mind Books -

Case study of the cultural anthropology of a native tribe of the Amazon; their lifestyle, beliefs, social structure, and use of epena snuff. More descriptive of daily life and beliefs; not as much plant shamanism as Plotkin, not as personal as Donner. Discusses recent politics and danger of extinction.

Reviews/Excerpts >
I am a graduating student of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon who was assigned to read this book for a Cultural Anthropology class. Much to my surprise, this book has become a real page-turner!  I never thought I'd have a hard time putting down a textbook. Chagnon's insightful, and more importantly, personalized account of his experiences living among an Amazonian tribe is riveting. He is graphic and provides the kind of realistic detail that is rarely encountered in a textbook - at least none that I've come across so far. He pulls no punches, either in his descriptions of the cultural mores of the Yanomamo, or relating his own struggles and disagreements with his anthropological colleagues.  I heartily recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about other cultures, and what motivates humans to behave as they do. This is not just a book for college students or those working in the Anthropology field. I am a Business Management major, but I find the insights this book gives on the human condition to be invaluable. It is always important to be able to see the world through other people's eyes, and Napoleon Chagnon makes that possible through this book.  What better recommendation can I give, but that I will definitely not be selling this book back to my college bookstore, but rather adding it to my personal library!  - lingrad

Most introductory ethnographies--descriptions of a variety of cultures--drag on and on. Napoleon Chagnon's Yanomamo is different. From his less-than-ideal first encounter with a dozen warriors who greeted him with bows drawn, to a Jaguar's breath as a wake-up call at 3:00 a.m. in the middle of a jungle, Chagnon takes his readers through one (mis)adventure after another. Still, Yanomamo is far more than an ethnographic thriller depicting a tribal people in southern Venezuela. Chagnon describes in detail the Yanomamos' seemingly exotic practices--the rule that a tribesman should marry his classificatory cross-cousin, or the abduction of women that invariably sparks a war, or a chest-pounding duel at any feast that might prevent an all-out battle from breaking out amid the festivities. More, he explains the significance of these (for us) strange practices: for example, marrying your cross-cousin is a very good way to keep your village together. (Read and find out how.) For more than 20 years, I have used successive editions of this text for my introductory anthropology courses. Indeed, Yanomamo is among the most widely adopted ethnographies at the college freshman level. This book is a readable yet solid piece of scholarship, one that many students will keep long after the finals are over. - Paul V. McDowell

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