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Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race 6th Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0803946484
ISBN-10: 0803946481
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Editorial Reviews

Review

This timeless work is more relevant today than ever. (Kenneth Hemmerick Israfax)

This classic remains one of the most important must-read books for the educated citizen in our pluralistic society. (Multicultural Perspectives)

About the Author

ASHLEY MONTAGU is an Anthropologist who has taught at Harvard, Princeton, University of California, and New York University and has written more than fifty books, including: "Life Before Birth", "Touching", "Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race", "On Being Human", "The Nature of Human Agression", "The Natural Superiority of Women", and "The Peace of the World".
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press; 6 edition (November 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803946481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803946484
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #967,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My review of this book is basically a heartfelt one. I read this book over 15 years ago. The thing that struck me as the most prominent theme in this book was that "race", as a differentia- tion among humans, is exclusively a social con- struct.
Race, per se, is non-existent because the simil-arities that are exhibited between humans by far outweigh the differences. In fact, race is a term that is used to disignate groups within a family that are (or are not) able to mate and have viable offspring. Take the genus Canis (dog's) for example: wolves, coyotes, and domesticated canines can all interbreed and produce viable offspring. Therefore, they are "stains" within the genus "Canis". However, lions, tigers, jaguars, etc... are all part of the genus Felis (cats) but can in no way interbreed and produce viable offspring.
Montagu the goes on to provide different exam-ples of how the human population is more alike than different.
I feel that this book is thorough in it's treatment of how the term race is misused and in it's refutation, through social, empirical, and factual data, of the supposition of one groups superiority/inferiority to another.
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Format: Paperback
Montagu's book was ahead of its time in terms of the DNA evidence on 'races'. There are no such thing as human 'races'. The very idea of 'race' is actually racist. Most biologists, anthropologists, and geneticists ditched the idea of 'race' in the 1950s. The lay public still believes in this myth.

The DNA research against the 'race' myth is very damaging to white supremacists because it undermines their entire worldview. A white supremacist could get their DNA tested and it would demonstrate what DNA haplogroup belonged to their distant ancestors (maternal and/or paternal). The haplogroup would have migrated from Africa and through the Middle East, or Asia and to a white supremacist this violates the mythology that they surround themselves in.

Also, the idea of a "white" person only emerged in the early 1700s. If you were to go to Europe or anywhere else on the planet before the idea of 'race' emerged and ask who is "white", people would look at you as if you were insane. Another funny thing is to compare a piece of paper with the skin color of a "white" person and demonstrate how it never matches.

A modern book by an evolutionary biologist on the 'race' myth is Joseph Graves' (2004) book, "The Race Myth".

Another book that is the most detailed examination of the idea of 'race' is Audrey Smedley's "Race in North America" now in its third edition (2007).
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Very academic, so it can be an effort to get through it. Montagu makes a very strong case against the physical anthropologists of the time. Anyone who is firmly against racism, or who is just not sure, should read this book.
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A classic even today!
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Truly a classic.
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While Montagu has some great insight into race and identity, a lot which I agree with, this book paints race as a social construct. What hogwash! Even modern liberal science admits that there is a genetic basis to race. Hint: Biopsychosocial theory.
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