THE HUMAN RACE by Terence & Martin Lucas Dixon


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More than pop anthropology, but less than received wisdom, can be found in this handsomely illustrated TV-series book by writer-producers Dixon (BBC) and Lucas (Thames Television). Desmond Morris' introduction is the giveaway that homage will be paid to naked ape-ness and men in groups, to the importance of hunting in the old days and the stress of city life in the new. Though the line has been somewhat softened, readers will find little evidence for the contribution of women to the human race other than as the dependent parts of a pair-bond or latter-day strivers in the workaday world; they will find a lot about playing up and playing the game--of competitive sports and chess (as the modern version of hunting, no less). Art and religion, too, were better in the old egalitarian, hunter-gatherer days, when art celebrated nature and local groups respected the world around them in their animistic ways. Once agriculture took over, we got hierarchy and property and separatism and blood baths, and finally Christianity and capitalism--with dominion over nature and social Darwinism thrown in. In fairness, tackling the qualities that contribute to human uniqueness means covering subjects of unending dispute but also compelling interest: dress and habitat, work and leisure, language, emotions, religion, art, technology. The authors do try to hit the high points--with the common problems of exploiting the spectacular at the expense of the subtle, and the hazard in this instance of following some devious and dubious paths.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1982
Publisher: McGraw-Hill