- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Picador; 1st edition (October 30, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 031242728X
- ISBN-13: 978-0312427283
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #341,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Old Way: A Story of the First People Paperback – October 30, 2007
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“Heartbreaking and gorgeously observed . . . The Old Way is not only a timely work, but also a timeless one.” ―Alexandra Fuller, The New York Times Book Review
“A work of impressive scholarship and, more important, a book that connects the dots linking us to the first stages of the human race. . . . Remarkable.” ―The Washington Post
“It is fascinating to see how Thomas has honed her observational powers over the years . . . and how her notion of 'culture' has broadened.” ―Los Angeles Times
“Thomas captures the fascinating customs of a people that had no future as a tribe.” ―The Daily News (New York)
About the Author
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is the author of seven books of fiction and nonfiction--among them The Hidden Life of Dogs, The Harmless People, Reindeer Moon, and The Animal Wife. She has written for The New Yorker, National Geographic, and The Atlantic. She lives in New Hampshire.
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"To lift a Ju/wa child is an interesting and wonderful experience. An American child is heavy by comparison and comes up off the ground like a sack of grain with arms and legs dangling--dead weight. A Ju/wa child almost lifts himself because he participates in the action with his arms and legs ready to clasp you so that the two of you instantly fuse as if you were a magnet and he a little piece of steel. And you don't have to hold him up--he clamps himself right on you and holds himself in place. You need merely to keep an arm around him. I love to carry Ju/wa children..." (114).
Some parts were less warm and more clinical, reading like an ornithologist's description of a flock of birds. (The author makes no ontological distinction between man and beast.) While I don't agree with her view that the only fundamental difference between chimps and us is time, I still enjoyed her tenderly rendered portrait of a people she obviously cares very much about.
This particular account was written by a woman who in her youth, along with family members, actually lived for some time among bushmen who were still living according to their ancient culture. I found it tremendously interesting, though sad in the parts that dealt with their difficulties brought about by the modern world.