In the diffusionist, cultural pattern vein of Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead which sprang from the source created by Franz Boaz, this is a solid once-over-lightly about anthropology and how it is used for the historical and contemporaneous study of people. A practiced anthropologist herself (she has lived with the Bachigas of western Uganda) May Edel writes with modest authority and the appeal of a clear logic. Skillfully combining definition with method, she speaks first of Boaz and his theories, illustrating from time to time with descriptions of his dealings with the Eskimos- as he listened to their stories, watched their crafts and acquainted himself with their pattern of life, their way of thinking. Excerpts from the author's own days with the Bachigas follow. Thus backgrounded, she plunges into broader concepts- the cave man, the hunter, the farmer, and finally the metalworker-keeping ever in mind the smaller tribal and intertribal differences (chosen from a variety of geographical locations) as well as the larger ones. From the study emerges not a deterministic picture of society but rather a way to study the characteristics of man. And there is wonder and delight expressed in the writer's own curiosity about ourselves and others. A chapter on race dispels notions of inherent superiority and inferiority by such examples as the absurdity of giving an Aborigine an I.Q. test meant for Americans.