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Yanomamo: The Fierce People (Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology) Paperback – April, 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0030328190 ISBN-10: 0030328195 Edition: 4th
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Foreword. Author's Preface to the Sixth Edition. Acknowledgments. Prologue. The Killing of Ruwahiwa. 1. Doing Fieldwork among the Yanomamo. 2. Cultural Ecology. 3. Myth and Cosmos. 4. Social Organization and Demography. 5. Political Alliances, Trading, and Feasting. 6. Yanomamo Warfare. 7. Alliance With the Mishimishimabowei-teri. 8. The Acceleration of Change in Yanomamoland. 9. Interview of the Author by William G. Irons. Glossary. References Cited. Ethnographic Films on the Yanomamo. Index. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Napoleon A. Chagnon was born the second of twelve children in Port Austin, Michigan, in 1938. He is married and has two children. He began his academic training at the Michigan College of Mining and Technology at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (now called Lake Superior State University), in the physics curriculum. After one year there, he transferred to the University of Michigan, changed his major to anthropology, and received his B.A. (1961), M.A. (1963), and Ph.D. (1966) degrees in anthropology at the University of Michigan. He then joined the faculty of the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan Medical School from which position he participated in an extensive multi- disciplinary study of the Y?nomamö Indians of Venezuela and Brazil. During this time he also held a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, where he taught anthropology courses. He has held positions at Pennsylvania State University, Cambridge University, Northwestern University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara. His recent views on Anthropology as a discipline are contained in Noble Savages, his most recent book (2012). --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology
  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt School; 4th edition (April 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0030328195
  • ISBN-13: 978-0030328190
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #953,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 6, 1997
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has been criticized heavily for its emphasis on violence and warfare, and in fact there are many things in Chagnon's ethnography which could be debated--however, above all, this is a very readable, very well written book which does provide a lot of useful information. I read it as a student in the mid-70's and again last year before I went to work with the Yanomami in Brazil, and it was quite useful. I think it should be the first book on the Yanomami that any novice reads--the other books, attacking Chagnon, won't mean much otherwise
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By LinGrad on April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a graduating student of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon who was assigned to read this book for a Cultural Anthropology class. Much to my surprise, this book has become a real page-turner!
I never thought I'd have a hard time putting down a textbook. Chagnon's insightful, and more importantly, personalized account of his experiences living among an Amazonian tribe is riveting. He is graphic and provides the kind of realistic detail that is rarely encountered in a textbook - at least none that I've come across so far. He pulls no punches, either in his descriptions of the cultural mores of the Yanomamo, or relating his own struggles and disagreements with his anthropological colleagues.
I heartily recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about other cultures, and what motivates humans to behave as they do. This is not just a book for college students or those working in the Anthropology field. I am a Business Management major, but I find the insights this book gives on the human condition to be invaluable. It is always important to be able to see the world through other people's eyes, and Napoleon Chagnon makes that possible through this book.
What better recommendation can I give, but that I will definitely not be selling this book back to my college bookstore, but rather adding it to my personal library!
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Paul V. McDowell on January 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Most introductory ethnographies--descriptions of a variety of cultures--drag on and on. Napoleon Chagnon's Yanomamo is different. From his less-than-ideal first encounter with a dozen warriors who greeted him with bows drawn, to a Jaguar's breath as a wake-up call at 3:00 a.m. in the middle of a jungle, Chagnon takes his readers through one (mis)adventure after another. Still, Yanomamo is far more than an ethnographic thriller depicting a tribal people in southern Venezuela. Chagnon describes in detail the Yanomamos' seemingly exotic practices--the rule that a tribesman should marry his classificatory cross-cousin, or the abduction of women that invariably sparks a war, or a chest-pounding duel at any feast that might prevent an all-out battle from breaking out amid the festivities. More, he explains the significance of these (for us) strange practices: for example, marrying your cross-cousin is a very good way to keep your village together. (Read and find out how.) For more than 20 years, I have used successive editions of this text for my introductory anthropology courses. Indeed, Yanomamo is among the most widely adopted ethnographies at the college freshman level. This book is a readable yet solid piece of scholarship, one that many students will keep long after the finals are over.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Marshall on January 31, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Who says we can't learn anything from primitive peoples? Napolean Chagnon writes a book about the "fierce people," an Amazonian tribe that values violent passion above all, and low and behold -- the Nabas (Norte Americanos) all divide up into tribes and start shooting arrows (or is that errors?) at one another. Chagnon and his fellow "anthros" start wars to film people fight, engage in germ warfare, and don't care about the people they live among. The missionaries give shotguns away that are used for murder, practice cultural imperialism, and work for the CIA. (I believe Hugo Chavez himself pointed that out!) Some guy named Tierney is a dishonest scholar. (Apparently they got that one right, anyway!)

So pick your team, and grab a club.

Meanwhile, if you want a good book about a primitive tribe, both this and Spirit of the Rainforest make great reads, even though they come from opposing factions. Their portrayal of the Yanomamo is generally consistent and fascinating, in a sometimes horrifying way. Chagnon's is more detailed, a bit more objective (though he is certainly not afraid of voicing his opinions, and the personal style and details make the book so much more interesting than just an academic abstract on an Indian tribe).

I appreciated the detail Chagnon offers: the kinds of plants used for arrows, the size of villages, family relations -- though he offered a bit more of that than I wanted -- diet, dance, death, even a bit about "pets."

Spirit of the Rainforest is an even better read, and tells you a lot about the Yanomamo as well. My recommendation: read both. Chagnon didn't always stay in the same village, either.

Sometimes Chagnon touches on what for many may be the most interesting question.
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29 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Chagnon's book is one of the most widely read ethnographies of tribal and animistic people. In it you read how Chagnon sees the Yanamamo. If you want to read how the Yanamamo see Chagnon and other 'nabas' read "Spirit of the Rainforest" by Ritchie. It is written from the perspective of a Yanamamo shaman. You will discover things not covered in Chagnon's work.
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