Science Recommendations: Anthropology

PZ has a post up asking for good science books. I though I would narrow the field and ask for good books on anthropology – any of the four subfields and numerous sub-disciplines. I don’t have a list of my own, yet, so let me know which anthropology books you thought were great and frequently recommend…they can be pop science or more narrowly focussed.


7 Responses

  1. Good anthropology books? Let me see … My library is heavy on paleoanthropology, light on other sub-fields.
    From Lucy to Language, Don Johanson and Blake Edgar. Excellent coffee-table book on fossil hominids and humans, with superb photographs.
    Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind, Don Johanson and Maitland Edey. All about the discovery of “Lucy” and what it meant to paleoanthropology
    Unraveling Piltdown by John Evangelist Walsh, all about the Piltdown fraud and what scientists learned from it.
    The Fossil Trail by Ian Tattersall. A great look at fossil hominids and hominid evolution.
    The Neandertal Enigma by James Shreeve
    The Wisdom of the Bones by Alan Walker and Pat Shipman, all about the Nariokotome Boy and what he told us about hominid evolution.
    I have a few books about forensic anthropology as used in crime-solving. Very informative about what an anthropologist can tell from human bones, and about how anthropological knowledge is used in everyday life, but definitely not for the squeamish!:
    Dead Men Do Tell Tales, by William Maples.
    Bones, by Dr. Douglas Ubelaker with Henry Scammell
    Kind of off on its own in my library is Road Belong Cargo about the Cargo Cults of Papua New Guinea, an extremely dry bit of writing that nevertheless inspired a dandy SF novel, Dream Park by Larry Niven & Steven Barnes.
    If archaeology qualifies, I have a lot more I could list.

  2. Sure, archaeology qualifies. I’m going to have to check into Road Belong Cargo. I’ve read The Trumpet Shall Sound by Worsley, also about Cargo Cults, which I would recommend. Dead Men Do Tell Tales is an excellent read too…

  3. Two of my favorite archaeology related books from the past decade or so include “Human Impacts on Ancient Environments” by Charles Redman and “Living with the Ancestors” by Patricia A. McAnany.
    The Redman book especially was a huge influence in sparking my interest in human-environment relationships.

  4. I’ve been neglecting my anthropology reading lately, but I’d recommend the last two books I read: ‘The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey’ by Chris Beard and Mark Klingler (a readable account of the controversy surrounding Eosimias) and ‘The Ape in the Tree’ by Walker and Shipman (which you mentioned here recently).
    Both very interesting, and not too heavy for reading over Christmas 😉

  5. I heartily recommend Wm. Calvin’s A Brain For All Seasons.

  6. Hmmm… I always loved Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel which may be a bit pop-sciencey, but still very cool.
    I noticed you liked the Archaeology of Oceania: Australia and the Pacific Islands book – another excellent new one has just come out of Pacific Linguistics, Papuan Pasts, which is definitely not pop-sciencey, but a good read.

  7. Can We MAke Another questions related to anthropology?

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