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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars25
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VINE VOICEon October 8, 2007
My main gripe about this book is that it is organized in such a fashion that it makes it difficult to outline. The chapters don't develop in a manner that lends itself easily to straightforward interpretation of main ideas. Instead, the authors rely primarily on providing definitions of terms, and then presenting information that is of secondary consequence.

The book is informative, but not linearly coherent.

To address the issues raised by another reviewer about Islam, after some more scrupulous reading of those sections, I believe the reviewer let his anger get the best of him. For example, on the section dealing with the "Sour Grapes" reaction, he automatically combined the imposition of pork-eating taboos with the "sour grapes" reaction, which the authors clearly didn't do. They develop the idea and geographical importance of pork-eating, and gives the "sour grapes" reaction as a possible explanation to the eschewing of pork--and they offer others as well. The idea was to show that we don't know where it began, from a cultural stance. The author attaches from an early stage that eschewing pork was part of Judaism, a much older tradition than Islam or Christianity, and makes the point that the distribution of the taboo follows in line with areas that pork isn't easy to cultivate, since a nomadic lifestyle is not suitable for pork farming.

Note that this is different than saying "Islamic people made conquered peoples eschew pork because Islamic people were jealous of those who raised pork." This statement is almost nonsensical, but if you were to simplify the claim raised by the other reviewer, this is what you get.

Did later islamic kingdoms impose the non-eating of pork in the regions of Babylon and those cities near rivers? Yes they did. The author was wrong to use the language of "for revenge," as it puts a slightly moral stance on the books position, and does paint Islam in a negative light--which a good textbook shouldn't do.

And in dealing with the oft-violent histories of all three monotheist religions, the authors spent a great deal of time on the christian enslavement and mistreatment of Indians by the sword here in the Americas--showing that Christians did bad things in the name of their faith, just as Muslims did.

As far as religions go however, the treatment of buddhism and hinduism is even more sparse than it is on Islam, though I have yet to read a western-written book that covers eastern traditions in an interesting fashion. Most of them have a sudden style-shift from seeming interested in the subject matter to suddenly seeming more like an encyclopaedic regurgitation of well-known facts.

This book is guilty of this as well. Docked one star for its non-linear style, and one star for its poor treatment of eastern religions.
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on October 31, 2000
I am currently enrolled in Professor Terry Jordan-Bychkov's Cultural Geography class, and the book is basically a culmination of his travels all over the world. The majority of the pictures in the book were personally taken by Professor Jordan himself, and it makes the class even more interesting. Professor Jordan's love for Geography emulates throughout the entire book, and it is easy to read as a result. The book is set in very vivid outlines, so it is easy to follow, and each chapter builds upon one another to form the, in words frequently used by Professor Jordan, the "Human Mosiac." The book is intersting, easy reading, and the class is even better. For those of you former, future, or current Longhorns, I HIGHLY reccommend the class; for those of you who cannot have the opportunity to learn from such a brilliant and cultured man, the book is the next best thing
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on February 17, 2012
I have actually picked this text book up and read it many times after taking the class. It really helps you understand our world from why people in Minnesota have hot tubs to ubiquitous ideas like religion.
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on April 20, 2013
Required text for a geography class. Nothing really outstanding good or bad about the book.
Decent update for those who haven't touched geography for awhile.
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on October 22, 2013
A detailed coursebook for anthropology and taught me quite a bit. Easy to read for beginners in the subject. Conveys clear info for easy studying.
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on January 30, 2013
It's in good condition but I think the book was a lot more expensive than what it should of been because it's not in the best condition.
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on June 27, 2014
I bought this book for college and it arrived on time with minimal wear and tear. I recommend this for other students.
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on October 6, 2013
It is the book I needed for my astronomy class. I got it super cheap and super quick. The book was practically new.
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on October 3, 2014
i put 3 stars because i didnt want this book i had to buy it for class but the book itself is in good condition
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on November 20, 2015
It's a book that was used for college get used for cheap don't buy for full value
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