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Cannibalism, Headhunting and Human Sacrifice in North America: A History Forgotten Paperback – April 21, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0911469332 ISBN-10: 0911469338 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Alan C. Hood & Company, Inc.; 1st edition (April 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0911469338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911469332
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #919,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Injury, violent death, dismemberment and cannibalism are things that all of us fear, but they also fascinate. Cannibalism, Headhunting and Human Sacrifice in North America will be a most useful starting point for those who wish to read about or do research in the history of these kinds of mayhem in North America. --William D. Lipe, Professor Emeritus at Washington State University and former president of the society for American Archaeology

About the Author

George Franklin Feldman had a successful career in broadcasting, politics and business while at the same time pursuing a lifelong passion for the ancient history of North America. He has traveled all over the continent examining archaeological sites and gathering original source material. He lives in Fishers, Indiana and Naples, Florida.

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Customer Reviews

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Excellent book, contains much fascinating material.
Magneto
Add to that the Jesuit accounts of the Iroquois and Hurons of the Great Lakes (ch.
monyouk
Great read on a topic that is not the same/same as most history books.
SherryK

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Emily Decobert on June 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Most modern Americans believe the Indians were peaceful savages who lived an ideal life with nature that was destroyed by the white folk. To some extent, they did fit into that picture. There can be no doubt of the horrible decimation of the Native Americans by the Europeans who took their land, dignity, and very lives. But, there was also a darker side to the placid natives.
George Franklin Feldman, the author, has loved archeology since he was a boy and Dr. Glenn Black let him dig around an Angel Mounds site. His love of American history continued into adulthood and his focus turned to the dark site of the American Indians and their relations with the invaders. He has found people ranging from relunct to even defiant at the suggestion that the Native Americans were anything other than passive victims. They were anything but passive.
Before the Europeans meddled into their affairs, the Indians were massacring each other with regular frequency. In warfare, often whole villages were murdered. The gentler option was death to the men and slavery to the women and children. And, of course, let's not forget the cannibalism and human sacrifice.
Human sacrifice and cannibalism served many functions. Some tribes killed their own people for rituals or sacrificed slaves. Cannibalism often occurred in an attempt to gain the bravery of the person eaten or to strengthen the warrior about to fight. And, as European Americans did later, they turned to cannibalism to survive starvation. Cannibalism also was religiously-based. There were gods and goddesses who were cannibals and humans who worshiped them by becoming cannibals themselves.
As Europeans met with the headhunting ways of the Native Americans they were at first appalled, then they learned to be as savage.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By D. Hocking on January 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is interesting and a real page-turner. I found it difficult to put down until I entered regions and times with which I was familiar. Then I found it difficult to go on. The book has some use for the layman as a counterbalance to the "noble savage" nonsense presented in high school history and at national parks. The author includes in one place extensive quotations from the reports of early explorers and this is commendable but he dilutes it by undermining many of his sources, such as by calling Cabeza de Vaca's report dubious without explanation. It may well be. It is hard to imagine a people surviving with the practices reported, but then they disappeared within 150 years of Cabeza de Vaca's visit. In one chapter he tells us the Indians could not understand European wars of extermination, if ever there were such, and in the next shows that neighboring tribes engaged in extermination. The author's background is broad but shallow. Reporting on southern New Mexico (and Arizona) in the 1850s his timeline is attrocious often presenting events 10 years before they occurred, confusing people and tribes - the Oatman's were attacked by Yavapai, not Apache. Much of his confusion would have been rectified if he'd read a wider range of reports and accounts. While he tells us that he understands the evolution of culture, his presentation skips back and forth across centuries. He presents a thesis, that the American Indian was far more violent than any other race, which he has neither the material nor the intent to prove. What he does demonstrate is that there was far more violence among American Indians than reported in many history books. It wasn't all taps with coups sticks. Headhunting, human sacrifice,cannibalism and wars of extermination were the norm, not the exception even before Europeans arrived.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Cannibalism, Headhunting and Human Sacrifice in North America is an in-depth, scholarly study of the more gruesome practices of native peoples of North America (and European colonists). Dispelling the veil of modern sanitization and revisionist history, Cannibalism, Headhunting and Human Sacrifice in North America scrutinizes cruel and unusual punishment or aggression among the Iroquois, Anasazi, Comanche, Apache, Chippewa, Nootka, Kwakiutl, and other tribes, as well as the impact of white scalp hunters. Though decidedly not for the faint of heart, Cannibalism, Headhunting and Human Sacrifice in North America is not a lurid true-crime tell-all, but rather a solid a work of scholarship and anthropology, grounded firmly in archaeological evidence. A singularly important addition to Native American history reference shelves, as it covers on a topic all too often avoided by other, more squeamish texts.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John R. Lindermuth VINE VOICE on September 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is not a book for the faint-hearted. That said, it is an interesting, even engrossing exploration of man's inhumanity and the struggle for dominance.

Feldman, who voices a long interest in archaeology and North American history, presents evidence to dispel the sanitized viewpoint of the Native American as noble savage. The presentation does little for the image of the European explorers and colonizers either. His account of Pilgrim treachery and how the Puritans murdered Massasoit's sons is a bit different from the conventional Thanksgiving mythology.

None of the information presented is really new. It was already available in a multitude of books and documents, many of which are included in Feldman's extensive bibliography. He did do his homework and fairly points out the source material belies the conventional history which glosses over the brutal clashes in which Native Americans and Europeans were matched in brutality.

Feldman is also clear in stating many cases of atrocity need to be viewed with suspicion due to the prejudice of the reporter. There are, of course, other cases where terrible practices have been borne out by more recent scientific studies. For instance, evidence of cannibalism among the early Southwestern Basketmakers confirmed by the work of molecular biologist Richard Marlar.

This is not a book for every reader. But for those willing to take the plunge it offers interesting food for thought on the nature of man and the consequences of his actions.
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