Popular Books on Anthropology

 

Anthropology is a study of humans and human behavior along with societies in the past and present. Further, they are divided into many categories which make up for an interesting read. Below listed books are the most popular books on anthropology for the readers inclined towards reading the same.

 

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Jared Diamond looks at several societies that have collapsed as a result of misusing their natural resources and a couple of them that miraculously managed to pull back from the brink.

Read it For:
This is a major work in detail of the factors at play in the demise of civilizations in human history using a wide range of examples.
Don't Read it For:
The author is so intent upon clearly and explicitly detailing every argument to paint a convincing picture of ancient societies that he often loses sight of larger arguments.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is an extremely eye-opening and informative read for anyone seriously interested in current affairs.

Guns, germs and steel

Jared’s book looks at the wider world, and at how civilizations developed before the invention of writing.

Read it For:
A lot of his focus is on the noneuropeans world showing how cultures that had a common origin, due to the difference in the physical environment, developed on completely different tracks.
Don't Read it For:
It is an exhaustive book that delves deep into human history which may not be everyone's cup of tea.
What makes this book stand out?:
The author posits the real reason some cultures outperform others is environmental which gives certain areas an edge over others.

One river

It is a great tale of adventure in the Amazon region during two important eras, fascinating exploration of the world of plants and human usage and a subtle case for recognizing what we are losing in destroying ancient cultures.

Read it For:
It is a volume of fascinating information contained in a well-written book.
Don't Read it For:
It is a bit tedious and the jumping about in time can often muddle the flow.
What makes this book stand out?:
The author’s sensitivity to other cultures is a rarity. It is also a thoughtful exploration of humanity's relationship with nature.

Cannibals and kings

It tackles a variety of seemingly unrelated topics of popular interest in a sort of seamless flow all through the lenses of environmentally centered determinist forces.

Read it For:
These theories are solidly based on facts, far less on mere speculation than one would assume.
Don't Read it For:
It is recommended for readers who are willing to delve deep to understand the cultures and how they shaped us as we are today.
What makes this book stand out?:
The book provides a concise and comprehensive summary of cultures and forces that determine their organization. It is a must-read on the list of top 10 books on anthropology.
Shop Now - Buy 2 Fire 7 Kids Edition tablets, save $50. Limited-time offer
Bonus 25% off Fire tablets with Amazon Trade In. Limited-time offer.
Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

The world until yesterday

Here, Jared Diamond focuses more on a social/cultural context, comparing pre-agricultural societies to the present ones.

Read it For:
The book is a combination of history and advocacy
Don't Read it For:
The book is muddled at times, but it's not from any deficiency of the author’s so much as it is a result of the sheer enormity of ambition of his subject.
What makes this book stand out?:
It has the sense to ask right questions, and the topics of comparison are broad and occasionally overlap.

Next of Kin large print

It is one of the most powerful books that educate the reader about childhood autism, the evolution of languages and the fight for the humane treatment of lab animals. This book features in the most popular books on anthropology.

Read it For:
This book is flawlessly constructed and flows effortlessly from start to finish making it a book you wouldn't be able to put down.
Don't Read it For:
The realism of this book may not sit well with some people.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is a fluid mixture of entertaining narrative with heartbreaking details about the treatment of chimpanzees makes it an emotional rollercoaster.

Euphoria

The book is based on lives of anthropologists, Margaret Mead and her first and second husband.

Read it For:
The title itself is very captivating, and the way Lily King created a narrative between her characters was phenomenal.
Don't Read it For:
It lacked a certain depth as the novel progressed.
What makes this book stand out?:
It has a layer of intimacy along with aspects involving the study of anthropology and the tribal cultures which are highly intriguing, which has given it a rightful spot on the list of 10 best-selling books on anthropology.

A voyage long and strange

The author visits historical locations of event that occurred between the first landing of Columbus and settlement of Jamestown.

Read it For:
The people in the past were like us, good and bad mixed together, but the author seems to keep away from the postmodern trend of judging people by our time and standards.
Don't Read it For:
It is not really a scholarly read since it is mostly a travelogue immersed in history.
What makes this book stand out?:
Horwitz’s work has a wonderful knack for combining travel, history, current culture into a satisfying blend that leaves the reader interested and informed.

Purity and danger

It is an anthropology classic about the meaning of purity and pollution. Douglas argues that many of the taboos regarding “polluted" or unclear objects in various societies have more to do with moral and symbolic impurity rather than actual hygiene.

Read it For:
The imprint of structural linguistics on this book is so fresh that at times it almost seems like a quaint historical document more than anything else.
Don't Read it For:
It often comes across as a dry, academic read.
What makes this book stand out?:
It is a fascinating read which highly relevant and inviting.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: