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Coming Home to the Pleistocene

by: Paul Shepard

Publisher: University of Chicago Press (1998)


Staff Pick by comrade: BC

This anthropological classic analyzes the changes that cultures go through when moving from the hunter/gatherer economic system that was dominant for the first 99% of human history (and is still present in small pockets around the world) into either a pastoral economic system or an agricultural system, as well as the effects these changes can have on the environment. These changes have had drastic effects on the attitudes of populations involved, ranging from religious beliefs to the overall structure of a society. Shepard's book is meticulously researched, well-footnoted, and surprisingly readable, not falling into the trap of inaccessible academic language so common in other anthropology texts. A must-have for anyone interested in the way different cultures work.