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Dinner with a Cannibal: The Complete History of Mankind's Oldest Taboo
     

Dinner with a Cannibal: The Complete History of Mankind's Oldest Taboo

by Carole A Travis-Henikoff, Christy G Turner (Foreword by)
 

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Presenting the history of cannibalism in concert with human evolution, Dinner with a Cannibal takes its readers on an astonishing trip around the world and through history, examining its subject from every angle in order to paint the incredible, multifaceted panoply that is the reality of cannibalism. At the heart of Carole A. Travis-Henikoff’s book

Overview


Presenting the history of cannibalism in concert with human evolution, Dinner with a Cannibal takes its readers on an astonishing trip around the world and through history, examining its subject from every angle in order to paint the incredible, multifaceted panoply that is the reality of cannibalism. At the heart of Carole A. Travis-Henikoff’s book is the question of how cannibalism began with the human species and how it has become an unspeakable taboo today. At a time when science is being battered by religions and failing teaching methods, Dinner with a Cannibal presents slices of multiple sciences in a readable, understandable form nested within a wealth of data. With history, paleoanthropology, science, gore, sex, murder, war, culinary tidbits, medical facts, and anthropology filling its pages, Dinner with a Cannibal presents both the light and dark side of the human story; the story of how we came to be all the things we are today.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Choice magazine Outstanding Academic Title for 2008

"Travis-Henikoff covers the phenomenon's many raisons d'être, from survival to politically motivated terror. . . . The book's range is impressive. Highly recommended for public libraries."  —Library Journal

"A careful and scholarly look at cannibalism, filled with humor, history, and fascinating facts; a totally delectable delight to read."  —Ralph L. Holloway, professor of anthropology, Columbia University

"If we are to ultimately fashion a real image of ourselves, not as fallen angels but as risen apes, this book will serve as an essential step in that direction."  —Alan Mann, professor of anthropology, Princeton University

"Exceptionally well researched and beautifully written. Our notion of exotic food may never be the same."  —Alan Almquist, professor emeritus of anthropology, California State University–East Bay

"Travis-Henikoff's lively and sometimes amusing anthropophagic romp shows that starvation and cultural patterns are often strong enough to counter moral taboos."  —College and Resource Library News

"Fascinating, fact and history-filled read that speaks to many of the societal problems we are facing today."  —Gary Sojka, professor of biology and former president, Bucknell University

"A fascinating history of the role cannibalism has played in the evolution of man." —Alan R. Kahn, author, Mind Shapes: Understanding the Differences in Thinking and Communication

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. "The truth is, we all have cannibals in our closets," writes Travis-Henikoff in her introduction to this meticulously researched, compulsively readable history of mankind's greatest taboo. As she eloquently illustrates, cannibalism has been around for as long as humans, and it's quite possible that its outlaw is a recent development in terms of recorded history. Many readers are no doubt familiar with the Chilean rugby team immortalized in Piers Paul Read's Alive (recounted again here), but not with the fact that widespread cannibalism has been documented in parts of war-torn Africa as recently as 2003. Sadistic serial killers and the oft-stereotyped tribesmen of the Amazon figure prominently, but where Travis-Henikoff truly excels is in her sociological and anthropological analysis, offering thoughtful insights into the whys of cannibalism, lucidly explaining how cannibalism can begin in a society, as well as its historical employment in times of famine, war and even during a period of political witch hunting in Communist China. A brief but entertaining digression into folklore examines cannibalism in fairy tales such as the Brothers Grimm. Throughout, Travis-Henikoff maintains a thoughtful tone, free of judgment, that frequently challenging readers' beliefs. The result is an eminently enjoyable, albeit very dark exploration of a taboo topic that should give armchair anthropologists, sociologists and historians plenty to chew on.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Choice
Engages readers to the point that one does not want to put the book down . . . It will become a classic in its field. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Choice, Outstanding Academic Title for 2008
College and Resource Library News
Travis Henikoff's lively and sometimes amusing anthropophagic romp shows that starvation and cultural patterns are often strong enough to counter moral taboos.
Library Journal

Those seeking tales of serial killers à la Hannibal Lecter will be disappointed in these books, as both authors favor in-depth examinations of cannibalism across a wide variety of cultures. Likewise, both discredit the conclusions of William Arens's The Man-Eating Myth, instead asserting that cannibalism has been a very real human practice around the globe. Travis-Henikoff (coauthor, Star Food Revisited), a scholar of paleoanthropology, covers the phenomenon's many raisons d'être, from survival to politically motivated terror. Her perspective as a gastronomist helps to situate cannibalism within a wide range of global culinary practices from the Amazon to the American Southwest to Polynesia. Some sections, e.g., those on archaeological dating and on the Inquisition, could have been shorter, but the book's range is impressive.

Raffaele (Smithsonian magazine) focuses on cannibalism in a few particular regions: New Guinea, the Ganges basin, Tonga, and Uganda. He meets with cannibals, the locals who condemn them, and descendents of other known cannibals. His beautiful descriptions of life among these cultures show that cannibalism is a local belief that, unlike the rapidly changing landscape, is still going strong in some places. Unlike Travis-Henikoff, Raffaele maintains that cannibalism not related to survival is an "evil" act, yet his portraits of cannibals show their essential humanity. Both books are highly recommended for public libraries; endnotes and a bibliography additionally recommend Travis-Henikoff.
—Dan Harms

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595800305
Publisher:
Santa Monica Press
Publication date:
03/01/2008
Pages:
360
Sales rank:
722,131
Product dimensions:
6.29(w) x 9.27(h) x 0.97(d)

Meet the Author


Carole A. Travis-Henikoff is an author, businesswoman, rancher, and independent scholar specializing in paleoanthropology—the study of human origins. She has given lectures on paleoanthropology at Loyola University (Chicago) and Rush University Medical Center (Chicago), and sits on the board of directors for the Stone Age Institute. She worked with the Getty Conservation team on the preservation of artifacts at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, and participated in an archeological dig alongside J. Desmond Clark, Tim White, Nicholas Toth, and Kathy Schick under the auspices of the Institute of Human Origins. She divides her time between Chicago, Illinois, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

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