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Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

Autor de The Hidden Life of Dogs

20+ Obras 3,770 Miembros 67 Reseñas 6 Preferidas

Sobre El Autor

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is a noted anthropologist and is also the author of "The Hidden Life of Dogs" (Pocket 1996), "The Tribe of Tiger", "The Harmless People", "Warrior Herdsmen", & the novels "Certain Poor Shepherds", "Reindeer Moon", & "The Animal Wife". She lives in Peterborough, New mostrar más Hampshire and the Boston area. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos
Créditos de la imagen: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas - Photo by The Paula Gordon Show 2008


Obras de Elizabeth Marshall Thomas

The Hidden Life of Dogs (1993) 1,125 copias, 17 reseñas
The Tribe of Tiger: Cats and Their Culture (1994) 795 copias, 8 reseñas
Reindeer Moon (1987) 378 copias, 7 reseñas
The Animal Wife (1989) 219 copias, 3 reseñas
The Old Way: A Story of the First People (2003) 193 copias, 8 reseñas
Certain Poor Shepherds: A Christmas Tale (1996) 133 copias, 4 reseñas

Obras relacionadas

Mi perra Tulip (1956) — Introducción, algunas ediciones621 copias, 27 reseñas
Vanishing Peoples of the Earth (1968) 131 copias, 2 reseñas
Between pets and people : the importance of animal companionship (1983) — Prólogo, algunas ediciones30 copias
The Hounds of Heaven (2016) — Prólogo, algunas ediciones16 copias
Clan of the Wild Cats: A Celebration of Felines in Word and Image (1996) — Introducción, algunas ediciones16 copias
The Best American Short Stories 1953 (1953) — Contribuidor — 15 copias


Conocimiento común




A touchstone we humans should always return to, to remember who we actually are and how we were meant to be.
Den85 | 7 reseñas más. | Jan 3, 2024 |
Good on the author - at 86 - writing a book - a memoir? - about growing old from the position of being old. It's great - I dipped into between other reading, and got plenty out of it.
Okies | 2 reseñas más. | Aug 12, 2022 |
The Old Ways

Imagine a digging stick as more important to humankind's existence than a mobile phone. Without an experienced frame of reference, many in today's world would brush aside the thought. Mentally, in our hubristic mind-set, we've pretty much removed ourselves from the natural world that sustains us, for the most part believing we are now in control despite the increasing consequences evidenced.

Over the history of life on earth there have been numerous extinction events (extinctions outpacing speciation), five of which are considered Great Extinctions. There have also been numerous species population bottlenecks, including humans, but current archaeological, paleontological, and genetic data are inadequate to provide conclusive evidence of specific events. We are currently living in an ongoing sixth Great Extinction that is caused by human activity, and at peril.

Why this is pertinent to this review is that at a minimum we are on a course to creating a more primitive environment in which to get by, one possibly not unlike that faced by our earliest ancestors as exemplified in this book.

As late as the 1950s some small bands of hunter-gathers (the !Kung Bushmen) still existed in the Kalahari Desert (in Namibia and Botswana), living much as our ancestors must have fifteen hundred centuries ago. This book is about Laurence Marshall (co-founder of the Raytheon Corporation), with his wife (anthropologist Lorna Marshall), daughter and son, finding these hunter-gathers and documenting their lives. The author is Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, the daughter, and her thorough writing reads like a time travel experience.

An example of the documented !Kung Bushmen society is:

"In most ways, women were the equals of men, fully as respected, fully as important in decision making, fully as free to choose a spouse or get divorced or own a n!ore. Most men, after all, lived for at least part of their lives on the n!oresi of their wives, in service to their wives’ families. Men also were the equals of women, fully as tender toward their children, fully as ready to take part in daily tasks such as getting water or firewood. Yet there was a great dividing line between men and women that the Ju/wasi did not cross. For all their equality, they did not do as we do in industrialized societies—the Ju/wasi did not, for instance, have the equivalent of woman soldiers or male nurses—and the division had a biological element that, considering that the people lived in the Old Way, is no surprise. The division came down to childbearing and hunting. Matters of birth were only for women, and matters of hunting were only for men.

"Perhaps the passive power of women was the stronger of the two, but the active power of men was more apparent. It was the men, not the women, who confronted visiting lions, shaking burning branches at them and telling them to leave . . . Men always accompanied women on any trip that required an overnight stay, but only to protect them, not to supervise them.

"By and large, however, women provided the foods that sustained the people, which they did by normal gathering, and men provided the food that people liked the best and valued most highly, the meat of the important antelopes."

Also telling is, ". . . unlike agricultural and industrial peoples who want to influence the natural world, the hunter-gatherers wanted to join with it . . .”

The reader may notice interesting parallels between the !Kung Bushmen Old Ways society documented, those of some other indigenous peoples like the Hopi, and those of some of our cousins, like elephants, lions and bonobos.

Something that may bother some readers is that in the text there is a smattering of repeated material, usually in different contexts, because the author goes to great lengths in trying to explain the Old Ways.

Pay particular attention in chapter 16, and you may gain a better understanding of what we have lost.
"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?" ~ T. S. Eliot, The Rock, 1934

"Since the 1950s, change has been rapid. The San [Bushmen] are no longer allowed to hunt the animals they once did and they have inevitably been caught up in the political changes that have taken place in Namibia and Botswana. They now have access to schools and hospitals, but poverty is their overwhelming lot."

The absurdities and harm we have heaped on these Bushmen in our ignorance reflect our own festering cultures — parallels easily seen now in the cultures of most all indigenous peoples.

All in all, this book was an interesting and informative read. One that shows how far we have digressed in our societies and what we have lost in our hubristic progress. Will we need to relearn the Old Ways again in the alien world we are rushing towards?
… (más)
LGCullens | 7 reseñas más. | Jun 1, 2021 |
An anthropologist's memoir of her experiences living with the Kung (!Kung) and Gikwe (Gǀwi) people of southern Africa.

The book is commendable for the respectful portrayal of the people the author encountered and lived with. Although the book takes the form of a personal travelogue, the author herself stays largely out of view, keeping the focus on the people she meets, their way of life, and the harsh yet beautiful landscape around them. Tragic events such as the kidnapping and enslavement of the people by European colonists, crippling injuries and deaths are described without excess sentiment, leaving the reader to form their own impressions. However, despite the dispassionate treatment of the subject matter, the book's tone is far from dry and academic. The narrative is enlivened by vibrant character sketches of the people the author meets, as well as lyrical descriptions of the landscape that serve to indirectly convey emotion and mood. This austere style of writing complements the book's subject, describing people who have managed to survive for thousands of years in extremely challenging natural conditions.

An excellent read for those interested in anthropology and ways of life different from our own.
… (más)
gcthomas | otra reseña | May 3, 2021 |



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