Summer Reading

Wed, 21 Jun 1995 20:30:07 -0600

In response to Kathi Kitner's Salazar's requests on books of interest. I
would cite three that have much\some\marginal value to Anthro.

1. Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and
Evangelism in the Age of Oil. by Gerard Colby and Charlotte Bennett.
Harper Collins. 1995. It starts with John D. Sr buying up Baptist
ministers in the Southwest and universities in Chicago and continues with
John D Jr. and Nelson buying up anthropologists and missionaries in Latin
America. I'm about 150 pages into this 950 page book. So far, it is a
fascinating, well documented, well-told and foot-noted tale that the
authors, a married pair of researchers from Vermont, took 20 years to
produce. Anthro is more of a sub than a main theme, but it gives some
interesting perspectives on the relationship between power and anthro
in the 20s, 30s and 40s.

2. The End of Evolution by Peter Ward. Bantam. 1994. When not thumbing
through the Colby-Bennett megavolume, I'm reading about Ward tromping through
the Karro desert of South Africa looking for proto-mammals that abounded
before the Great Permian Crash. Cut out of the Loren Eisely mold, this book
gives some fine insights into the rise of geology in the 19th Century. Ward
teaches geology at the University of Washington and is curator of their
musuem. The book appears to be heading towards how humanity has a special
propensity for shooting itself - and every other living thing - in the leg,
arm and head, but I haven't gotten to the finale yet. Has a great opening
with Filipino fisherman making their contribution to on going biodiversity
by dynamiting a coral reef all to hell to harvest fish, and with it their
livelihood. Several students in a Physical Anth class are reading it and
seem to be responding.

3. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got
Wrong. by James W. Loewen. New Press. 1995. Another Vermonter. Beginning
to wonder if all these folks do is sit around, look out at Lake Champlain,
and thus inspired, write fine books. This one is a real gem by a soc
professor at the University of Vermont. It is an an analysis and critique
of how main stream high school text books teach American history (or dont).
But it is more than that. What I think of as the unique contribution that
Loewen makes to the public discussion is explaining how historical mythology
is constructed through history in our country. He has done interesting

Rob Prince