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Cannibalism Hardcover – November 1, 1994
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Perhaps not every library has a section on cannibalism, but for those that do--or for those that need one good anthropophagic resource--this is the goods. Askenasy's chronicle examines virtually all conceivable facets of its subject with an air of avid interest if not repressed glee. Like most taboo behaviors, cannibalism has a long practical history. Askenasy presents historic cannibalism as both an act of expediency (as with the infamous Donner party) and a tenet of various religions and cultures, most of which Western culture would term barbaric; and he examines manifestations of cannibalism in other belief systems and practices--the thrust, for instance, of the chapter "Werewolves, Witches, and Vampires." Throughout, Askenasy maintains a scrupulously noncommittal tone regarding the ultimate morality of cannibalism. Although it may offend some squeamish readers, this book is comparable to the Sacher-Masoch diary (whose author's name has partially passed into the sexological vocabulary) as an important illumination of one of the grim, dark corners of human existence. Mike Tribby