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Women of the Forest Hardcover – November 1, 1974

3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Hardcover, November 1, 1974
$74.94 $2.49
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Restores something of the balance that has been missing from conventional anthropology,an anthropology largely written by men,in giving this lucid account of the fundamental roles played by women in all societies. [I]t sets the record straight for widely but wrongly held beliefs concerning many aspects of the roles of the sexes in all soceities. -- Ashley Montagu

Restores something of the balance that has been missing from conventional anthropologyan anthropology largely written by menin giving this lucid account of the fundamental roles played by women in all societies. [I]t sets the record straight for widely but wrongly held beliefs concerning many aspects of the roles of the sexes in all soceities. -- Ashley Montagu --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; First edn edition (November 1, 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231036825
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231036825
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,147,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a rather insiteful and refreshing look at a culture from a woman's standpoint. Another reviewer of this book complained that the details of the women's daily life was dull and that the lack of the man's viewpoint left little to learn of the culture. I completely disagree. Traditionally, anthropology focuses on the lives of men when studying any culture leaving women to automatically seem umimportant and mundane. In studying the Mundurucu, the Murphey's realized that the women of the village were the real backbone. Yes, men provided the most coveted village luxury of meat, but little else. The women provided the staple of village nutrition, almost singlehandedly raised children, and furthermore, the Murphey's detected that the women of the village understood the importance of their role while allowing the men to believe themsevles in control. This idea gives the reader a much deeper understanding of the culture rather than just from the point of view of the male sex. The above mentioned reviewer also complained that Yolanda Murphey seems to have written the majority of the book: while this opinion cannot be proved of disproved here, I would refer this reviwer to the section of the book where the Murphey's discuss the overall advantage any female anthropologist has in the field. They found that Yolanda was readily accepted by the women of the village simply because she wasn't a man, furthermore, Yolanda was more accepted by the men in the village than her husband because she was seen as an outsider rather than as a woman whereas her husband was a man to them who did not have the hunting skills needed to be accepted by them. No wonder then, that Yolanda would be able to provide a more insightful outlook on the Mundurucu cluture! Overall, the book was anything but mundane and gave a refreshing view of anthropolocigal research. The tactic of viewing the culture from a woman's point of view gave a new meaning to the ideas that fuel the culture.
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Format: Paperback
"In the morning we sat behind our house drinking coffee and watching the mists rising from the hillside in thin tendrils that were said by the Indians (who knew that it was really mist) to be the campfire of a mythical inambu bird. And the evenings often closed in brilliant, iridescent sunsets, kaleidoscopes of shifting colors. It was an enchanted land existing in a distant place and peopled by descendants of a remote age. To enter it was to step through the looking glass."

What would it be like to be a woman living in the Brazilian Amazon Basin? What if you lived in the moment, survival being a daily challenge? How would you set up your life so you had the support you needed when a man walked out of your life leaving you to care for his children? The women in the Amazon have it all figured out. In the first four pages you see the exotic beauty and undeniable reality of life.

The authors were a newly married couple when they first walked into a Mundurucu village in 1952. This book was written in the 70s and explains life from the perspective of a female anthropologist. Yolanda spent time with the women who accepted her as a friend and sister. Robert spent time with the men and learned about the ways they felt towards the women and how seriously they took their religious beliefs. This book really does include both sides, but has a definite focus on women.

This is a fascinating study of how the Mundurucu women humor the "mythically dominant" males, how they care for their men and how they survive when their marriages don't work out. It is a story about how women have found a way to survive by bonding with other women and sticking together through life.

When you read this book you realize how universal women really are.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hated it. Nice example of looking at the world through your own colorful, subjective lenses. Had to read this for a sociology class and everything in there was male = bad, female = good. And this book was just used to help prop up those theories.
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By A Customer on November 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the traditional anthropology book written during the women's lib movement. Certainly, women's issues are important to understanding a culture, but they are not the only part of the culture that one should focus on.
First, as mentioned earlier, they seem to only focus on the women's lives of the community. They may mention men here and there, but only in relevance to women. Are men unimportant without women? Do they not have a separate life? Perhaps if the men's lives had been discussed even a bit, I would have learned something about their culture.
Secondly, Yolanda seems to be the main author of this book. Her husband has done all of his publishing from their excursion, so he seems to have little influence over the content. Perhaps he should because then the reader might get a fuller picture of their lives.
Finally, they focus on the traditional and boring aspects of female lives. Perhaps that is great for a thesis, but not for the average reader. The details given are less interesting than a cold, gray day in London.
Perhaps this book was a great introduction into how not to write a book for anthropology, but it certainly would not be of any use for other purposes.
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