- File Size: 51163 KB
- Print Length: 310 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (July 11, 2017)
- Publication Date: July 11, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06X42MXC9
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #252,388 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$12.80|
|Print List Price:||$16.00|
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Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen Kindle Edition
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About the Author
“This fascinating glimpse into a disappearing way of life leads Suzman to reflect on our world today: a world where wealth and possessions are valued above all other pursuits. Suzman's account of the lives of Bushmen, past and present, offers plenty of fuel for thought.” ―The Washington Post
“Suzman deftly weaves his experiences and observations with lessons on human evolution, the history of human migration and the fate of African communities since the arrival of Europeans.” ―The Economist
“A vivid and compassionate portrait.” ―Financial Times
“To know what it is like to live as people lived for most of human history, you would have to find one of the places where traditional hunting-and-gathering practices are still alive . . . Fortunately for us, the anthropologist James Suzman did exactly that.” ―The New Yorker--This text refers to the paperback edition.
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The San came across as cheerful, funny, genuine, very in touch with their environment - I left very impressed. My wife says I fell in love with them -
many have it seems.
They are not 'primitive' people.
James captures this beautifully - with historical background, overview of their history, problems caused by interaction with other cultures and hilarious anecdotes every now and then - where the San get their own back at white farmers & Herero people.
James makes the point well that their way of life is very longstanding - our 'recorded history' is not much more than a blink of an eye by comparison.
Study of the diet of San has been one of the triggers for interest in 'Paleo' food - fairly high on meat and while the San do not get as much exercise as you would imagine they are fit and relatively disease free - this is yet to be explained.
When they switch to a more western way of life and diet they succumb to the usual medical problems - diabetes, obesity, etc
I will explore the suggested reading list at the back of the book.
This point has been made by other anthropologists, but Suzman makes it particularly well. His book also brings us up to date about current San circumstances and the picture he draws is not at all pretty. As the fingers of the urban-industrial world have groped their way into the once barely accessible back country of southern Africa, most of the more or less contented nomadic San have been become marginalized and demoralized.
I say "more or less" contented San because, as the author makes clear, the well-known egalitarianism of these people was sustained not only by an ethic of sharing, but also by readily expressed jealousy. It's hard to accumulate wealth when all around you are accusing you of being a selfish, anti-social jerk.
I have read quite a few accounts of the San, but this is the best I have read in quite a while, and certainly the most informative about relatively recent social changes. And it is full of thought-provoking observations. One that I remember particularly well is that our genetic selves may have evolved in the Paleolithic hunting-gathering context, but much of our current way of thinking and behaving is rooted in our more recent Neolithic past, when our ancestors took to plant cultivation and animal domestication.
It is easy to read and should be easily readable by the bright tenth grader. It should be easy reading for high school students who are interested in majoring in one of the social sciences, though its deeper lessons may take a re-read when they are in college.