THE WARRIOR HERDSMEN by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Kirkus Star

THE WARRIOR HERDSMEN

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Mrs. Thomas, whose Harmless People (1959) brought another African culture into view, now introduces another folk and their ways. The warrior herdsmen are the Dodoth, living in Uganda near Kenya, at Morukore. Mrs. Thomas lived among them from the turn of the year to November. Her report is evidence that she both shared their lives (she does not say how she came to win their confidence and respect and enter into their experience) and assessed their ways, partaking yet remaining without the circle, maintaining a fascinating balance. It is her capacity for at once sympathetic and objective observation that distinguishes her work. We too enter into Dodoth life, characterized by one of its members as ""raiding, strife, and hunger"" (this in a time of rain-ruined harvest). The household Lopore with his four wives, Lokorimoe, the man of influence, Lomortin, the supernatural whose prophetic dreams protect his people become a part of the reader's own life experience. Mrs. Thomas deals with orthodox anthropological materials: the structure of community life; the relationship within families and between neighbours; the attitude toward the Turkana and Jie, against whom they engage in cattle wars and retaliatory raids (by official count, 125, with 150 people killed, 25,000 cattle changing hands during the time of her stay); the effect of Western culture only barely impinging still. It is a fascinating excursion into another dimension of human life. Still special.

Publisher: Knopf