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Coming of Age in Samoa Paperback – January 1, 1971


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Illuminating and interesting . . . Corroborates, through practical demonstration, the psychosexual theories promulgated by Freud and his pupils." -- -- Dr. A. A. Brill

About the Author

Margaret Mead (1901-1978) began her remarkable career when she visited Samoa at the age of twenty-three, which led to her first book, Coming of Age in Samoa. She went on to become one of the most influential women of our time, publishing some forty works and serving as Curator of Ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History as well as president of major scientific associations. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom following her death in 1978.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (January 1, 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688309747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688309749
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By WhatIAssume on January 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
A few reviewers have referenced the Mead / Freeman controversy. I'd like to explain this controversy and provide some historical context for readers unfamiliar with the book.

Coming of Age in Samoa is Margaret Mead's first publication. It launched a career that made Mead one of the most famous anthropologists in American history. I find this book interesting in two ways: historically and stylistically.

Coming of Age in Samoa is historically interesting in that it represents one culmination of the conflict between cultural and biological anthropology. Mead was a student of anthropologist Franz Boas, a famous advocate of "nurture" over "nature." Mead borrowed and expanded Boas' ideas, and many cultural anthropologists still cite her work as evidence that a person's cultural upbringing--not his genetic makeup--accounts for most of his personal development.

Anthropologists that valued "nature" over "nurture" did not dig. Mead's claims were big, bold, and well-received.

But Boas' opponents (or his opponents' students and their students' students) were able to breath easy once Derek Freeman, an Australian anthropologist, published a book refuting Mead's findings. Freeman accused Mead of conducting sloppy fieldwork, approaching her subject with predetermined conclusions, and refusing to correct her work after its publication. In response, Mead supporters accused Freeman of attacking Mead personally rather than professionally. While they disagreed about the quality of Freeman's own fieldwork, these critics all thought that he could have written his critique with more tact and civility.

Coming of Age in Samoa is stylistically interesting in that it targets a general audience. Some sections seem to come from a travelogue, others from a novella.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on May 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband started this because we were both looking forward to it. My aunt is Samoan and I thought that would be very informative. My husband couldn't finish it and I didn't start it. It was disappointing.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Angela Green on September 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fast Delivery. Everything as promised! Thank you!!!!
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