MAN'S RISE TO CIVILIZATION by Peter Farb

MAN'S RISE TO CIVILIZATION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Peter Farb believes that cultures evolve as determined not by man's biological nature nor his personality but rather his sociality. Study the social structure of a culture and you have a key to understanding certain unconscious cultural adaptations which make it possible to compare the Californian Shoshoneans and the Australian aborigines, or the tribes of the Iroquois and the ancient Hebrew. Farb attempts to prove this thesis (which he acknowledges owes much to anthropologists Leslie White, Elman Service and Julian Steward) by pointing to the Indian cultures which have existed in the new world. Here, he says, are examples of every stage of development from the nuclear family to clans, tribes, chiefdoms, and finally, states. Whether you accept his thesis or not, the book is extremely interesting for both layman and professional. You may feel that he dismisses too easily the importance of creative personalities in a culture, or too carefully selects his material to prove a point, but the facts are fascinating and his conjectures frequently make sense. And since Mr. Farb writes with reason and detachment, never sentimentalizing the Indian or his systematic extirpation at the hands of the Whites (a catch-all word applied to all conquerors), his account is quite moving.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1968
Publisher: Dutton