Cannibals and Kings: Origins of Cultures

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More About This Textbook

Overview

In this brilliant and profound study the distinguished American anthropologist Marvin Harris shows how the endless varieties of cultural behavior -- often so puzzling at first glance -- can be explained as adaptations to particular ecological conditions. His aim is to account for the evolution of cultural forms as Darwin accounted for the evolution of biological forms: to show how cultures adopt their characteristic forms in response to changing ecological modes.

"[A] magisterial interpretation of the rise and fall of human cultures and societies."

-- Robert Lekachman, Washington Post Book World

"Its persuasive arguments asserting the primacy of cultural rather than genetic or psychological factors in human life deserve the widest possible audience."

-- Gloria Levitas The New Leader

"[An] original and...urgent theory about the nature of man and at the reason that human cultures take so many diverse shapes."

-- The New Yorker

"Lively and controversial."

-- I. Bernard Cohen, front page, The New York Times Book Review

A distinguished anthropoligist shows how the varieties of cultural behavior can be explained as adaptions to particular ecological conditions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679728498
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/28/1991
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 569,636
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.74 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    insightful empiricism with a happy ending ;)

    excellent objective text on how human nature has shaped the fate of the earth and human society. fascinating and comprehensive. critical conflict theorists will enjoy the skill with which he supports his assertions without ignoring the phenomenological influence of the human condition.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2003

    good start to trying to understand our behaviou

    This book was a recommendation from a friend who commands tremendous respect from me. This is a perfect book for someone who has never really tried to look at our social setup the way anthropologists describe its evolution. It also puts into prespective on the 'amount of control(or the lack of it)' we humans exercise in choosing our collective behaviour.

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    Posted October 29, 2013

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    Posted June 10, 2013

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