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This superb ethnographic study, illustrated by 120 remarkable color photographs, explodes the conventional idea of Eskimos as simple, primitive people. Concentrating on their traditional society, anthropologist Ernest S. Burch, Jr, and renowned photographer Werner Forman show them as not only pragmatic and highly skilled but also sophisticated in their personal relationships and their ability to live together in constrictive family communities.

The text and the photographs in this book explore the Eskimos’ art, their rich mythology, and their beliefs-their stories, their spirit world, and the role of shamans in their lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this welcome ethnographic study about Eskimo and Aleut people, Burch shows that these pragmatic, skilled hunters developed a lively culture involving complex relationships. Well-chosen examples indicate the wide social and artistic variety found in the relevant regionsfrom eastern Siberia, the Aleutian Islands, and Alaska to northern Canada and Greenland. This oversize book offers an integrated presentation in the more than 120 stunning color photographs, which include shots of people, the environment, and artifacts. Though an occasional nonstandard spelling detracts (e.g., ``belukha'' instead of ``beluga''), this is recommended. Mark C. Goniwiecha, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806121260
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/1988
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 9.07 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 31, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Wow, Eskimo culture is so beautiful! The clean page layout of

    Wow, Eskimo culture is so beautiful!

    The clean page layout of this book encourages a quiet reading experience. Your eyes can easily drift from image to caption to body text and rest in ample pockets of white space. I feel so lucky to have such a complete survey of Eskimo culture; it’s like a private museum exhibit because the quality is there.

    If you’re reading this review, you are probably looking to learn more about Eskimo people. Why not start with this book? It’s beautiful and well-written by an expert in Eskimo culture and in writing about it. This is a book that I like to pick up and read in bite-size pieces. There is a lovely introduction and six chapters, including: Social Life, Fighting the Cold, Subsistence, Movement, World View, and Expression. The author, Ernest S. Burch, even took time to craft photo captions that are light & informative, which is a place I often find dry writing since it can come as an later-thought in the publishing process. Thankfully, photography is clearly an added value to the book as there are 130 color photographs in all.

    It’s really hard to do nothing but praise this book! Hopefully, if you appreciate good book design, well-written anthropology, and are looking to expand your view of Eskimo people, you feel confident from my review that this is a book worth buying. A good book to pair this with would be Freuchen’s Arctic Adventure, which is one of my most favorite real life adventure stories set in the same part of the world.

    It just felt good to receive this book. My book was formerly a member of the Dayton Metro Library, and it’s in great condition. I love the smell of old library books, but what I love even more are the plastic covers that sometimes come with them. The sound of opening and closing the book brings tingles through my hands, eyes, and ears as I am transported back to floor of my grade school library where we sat for book readings.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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