In this detailed if strident book, Harvard archaeologist LeBlanc and his co-author dismantle the notion of the noble savage, a myth that "implies that if we can just...remember our ancient abilities to be one with the natural environment, warfare will stop and ecological balance will be regained." LeBlanc begins by describes his own field experiences, in which he and his colleagues routinely ignored "clear evidence for warfare"; later, following the lead of some "fanatical sociobiologists" at Harvard, he began formulating an academic stance focused on what he saw as humanity's ecologically disastrous and inherently violent true nature. It took him more than 25 years to fully change his mind, he says, and still more evidence is needed to prove his hypothesis. And the myth, he says, is entrenched in popular culture as well as science--most people envision prehistoric people as peace-seeking nature lovers. LeBlanc insists repeatedly that it is not only foolish, but also dangerous, to believe in an Edenic past when the evidence reveals overpopulation and violence wherever we look. Like many scientists before him, LeBlanc looks to technology as the answer to ancient problems. "For the first time in history," he writes, "we have a real ability to provide adequate resources for everyone living on the planet." But by not fully addressing the fact that technology has yet to solve may of our contemporary social ills, LeBlanc almost falls into the thrall of another myth-that of a gleaming future that seems drafted from science fiction.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Timely reading... LeBlanc's short book makes accessible to general readers controversial ideas well-known in (archaeology)... (and) offers a serious critique of both 'rational choice' by our leaders for short-term ends and of environmental neglect in a market economy as leading to disaster. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
In a provocative and simulating book, Steven LeBlanc places warfare at the center of human existence. He sees it as a constant battle over scarce resources from the earliest days of our history. In so doing, he gives us hope for the future, in a world where we have the potential to feed everyone. He gives us an important contribution to a growing debate over the causes and future of war. (Brian Fagan, professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of The Little Ice Age)
I found this book to be a great reference source that points out the eternal savage nation of societies and civilizations without Christ as their personal savior. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Rick S. Habecker
I particularly like the fact that the author states right from the start that this is not a PC book written to accommodate the university faculty committee. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Alma Jeanne Carman
Writing to an educated reader who need not be a scholar, LeBlanc reviews the myth of the noble savage in actually very exhaustive detail that includes 17 pages of references to the... Read morePublished on July 1, 2013 by Peter Oliphant
It is long past the time that we took a realistic look at how humans have behaved during the past thousands of years. And not how we wished they had behaved..Published on May 9, 2013 by Reader
Interesting thesis--warfare has been constant in humans for at least a million years. But the first half of the book presents no evidence, just invective against those who... Read morePublished on April 25, 2012 by Robert A. Schultz
This book has two main points: that people often fight physically, and that they have always placed excessive pressure on their food resources. Read morePublished on February 14, 2011 by Sam Thayer
I decided to assign this book to an undergraduate seminar course on violence and warfare because LeBlanc has a readable writing style and he doesn't get bogged down in too much... Read morePublished on October 9, 2010 by Fools and Sages