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Into the Heart: One Man's Pursuit of Love and Knowledge Among the Yanomama Paperback – January, 1992

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is an extraordinarily human account of the Yanomama Indians of the Amazon rain forest, a people who have in the past been rather dehumanized by anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon's Yanomama: The Fierce People (Holt, 1968). Good began working with them in the mid-1970s, living in their communities, studying their lives, and eventually marrying a Yanomama. He does not avoid discussing the violence they are capable of wreaking upon one another, but he sets it within the broader context of love, kindness, and respect that permeates most of their interpersonal lives. This is a personal rather than scholarly account, but it provides such powerful counterpoint to the woefully unfair--but widely circulated--accounts of the Yanomama that it should be made available everywhere.
- Glenn Petersen, Baruch Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 16 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone Books (January 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067175856X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671758561
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,146,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An anthropologist spends many years (multiple trips) amongst the Yanomamo Indians of the Amazon, who had had very little contact with civilization, and only a limited amount of its goods (e.g. some matches, a few better axes). He eventually marries one of the tribe, who returns to the United States with him. Anthropologist's faculty advisor is a real villain. The account is personal, rather than scholarly, although Good did write scholarly papers, and he refrains from much abstract analysis or generalization. The Indians have strong human emotional attachments for children, and family, and are not very violent, but the society is very sexist, tribes are prone to get mad at other tribes, and there isn't much concept of an abstract morality. It is a utilitarian morality, and tribe members are not likely to stick their necks out to protest unfair treatment to others. Disapproval does carry weight.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
And....in absolutely beautiful condition. Mine is a collectible, not just a story I read years ago then lent and lost: it will never be lent again.
This book is much more than a study of people living deep in the wilds of South America, it is a loving, inspirational, sometimes bewildering, story of a 20th Century time-traveler and how he fell in love with the village, their lifestyle, and the people. Additionally, this book encouraged me to re-consider our own American history, and any stereotypical ideas we might still retain in the smalls of our mind regarding labeling people different from the collective "we".
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Format: Hardcover
This book tells the story of an American anthropologist who studied the isolated Yanomami tribe in the Amazon rain forest. It is well-written and the story is fascinating, but disturbing, too. The author ultimately marries a native woman (actually a girl), that he alternately leaves on her own with negative results, and then removes from the jungle - also with negative results. They have children, too. This is a very unequal relationship from the start, not least because he is familiar with both cultures and languages, but his wife knows only her Stone-Age culture in the jungle. It seems she may not have had much choice about marriage, anyway, and she was only a child when they first met. He was there to study and report according to professional standards, not go native and take an innocent woman away from everything she had ever known. It seems they did care for each other, but sometimes that's not enough. One of their sons subsequently reconnected with his mother and wrote an excellent and touching book, The Way Around.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a compelling read and a good insight into a world and situation very few of us can fully imagine, and far fewer experience. It is written by a person who is primarily a scientist, rather than an author, which does affect the prose a bit, though it remains worth reading.

As with all things, please just don't expect reality to be in lock step with what you see on the news, particularly recent reports on CBS morning.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kenneth Good gave me the opportunity to get an inside in the real lives of the Yanomama people in the 70's & 80's. Beyond a social sciences rigorous approach, his story was more than anything the recount of a both sides life changing human experience. As a venezuelan myself, I am amazed on how he could navigate the rivers of bureaucracy that are more perilous that the Orinoco currents, fighting government officials as voracious as piranhas. His book opened my eyes and heart to the realities of one of the last tribes that have resisted being swallowed by "civilization." I hope the Yanomami nation would survive the new influx of the current regime and the ambitions of gold seekers tainting their pristine territory.
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Format: Paperback
I found this book exciting, fascinating, inspiring, and memorable. It offers scientific insight, adventure, and love in a single well-narrated package. The vast majority of people will never have such an unusual and intense mixture of experiences in their lifetime, and I can think of no other book that offers such a mixture of vicarious experiences either.
Oh yes, and it also offers a classic hero. Years after reading the book I can still recall how indefatigable the narrator-protagonist was in all his endeavors. He was a man who, having formed a plan or aspiration, just could not be stopped from realizing it. And I don't think he was flattering himself in the story either, because he realized all of his goals despite years of struggle that I know would have sent me home defeated several times over.
All in all, this is a truly unique reading experience.
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