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Cannibalism Hardcover – November 1, 1994

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; First Edition edition (November 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879759062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879759063
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,426,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By K. Unger on September 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great overview book for anyone interested in the topic of cannibalism. While there are a lot of stories that are dealt with in a cursory manner, there is enough analysis to make the book truly worthwhile. The author explores the motivations for breaking of "the last taboo" and includes lots of historical examples of each of those motivations. By asking thought provoking questions of the reader, Askenaasy puts you in the place of those who are alleged to have eaten their fellow man. He also asks the reader to question third party "evidence" and shows how not all that we read is necessarily true even given reliable sources. The book certainly left me thinking more about the topic than ever before and in news ways.
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Format: Hardcover
Although Askenasy's book is a fun read and may make interesting dinner table conversation (pun intended) I cannot endorse the work as a serious piece of anthropological literature. The reason being that there is no clear line (and Askenasy openly admits this) between the facts around cannibalism cases and the fiction that derives from the idea of cannibalism. This is not the fault of the author, but a problem inherent in the topic. Read the book and enjoy it for what it is, but don't put too much faith in the stories.
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By A Customer on April 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book for anyone interested in the anthropological aspects of cannabilism. Its not so scholarly that you can't grasp what are the cultural roots of the behavior in each case, and it covers many cases around the world. It can be a bit graphic, which is normal considering the subject matter. A good book for anyone interested in the philisophical issues surrounding an extremely taboo behavior.
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