Most helpful critical review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Decent beginning, but still flawed.
on December 24, 2005
I used this text for an anthropological theories course in undergraduate work. It's a pretty decent collection of work from major figures in anthropology.
Spencer, Tylor, and Morgan, Levi-Strauss, Marx, Boas, etc, etc. There is also a lot of work done to try and tie a common thread through as much material as possible. Contextualization of how a theory came to be, and what it might imply are pretty well done. Chances are, you're buying this book for a class, rather than pleasure, and though this can be kind of dry, it's fairly well done. Some selections are puzzling in terms of what they illustrate for that author, but by and large it shouldn't kill you to read this book.
There are footnotes, too. These seem like a blessing to begin with, especially if you don't have much of a foothold in the material, there is a lot that you are caught up on quickly, and it can be very helpful. On the flipside, the editors can be very heavy-handed in guiding the reading, and can be sometimes inane in their commentary. This is the major failing of the book, it's more to read, and the later in the book you get, the less useful it is.