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A View of Primitive Man in His Various
is to “depict primitive man in his vari. ous aspects, so that we may have of sav. agery an understanding comparable with our understanding of civilization. It is quite impossible to completely under: stand savagery, and the author admits as much in his preface. But that is no excuse for not attempting it, he notes. Partial understanding is better than no understanding at all, an old saw, to be sure, but quite in keeping with Goethe's more polished bon mot to the effect that only the incomprehensible is worthy of our efforts. The author's attempt, is
that fetches nothing new in the way of information to the top of the anthropologist's growing mass of formation, but it most assuredly presents the agglomeration of facts in orderly and interesting fashion. Without doubt, this "Introduction to An thropology" will find great favor with thcse who seek a beginner's glimpse inte the field of primitive culture as well as with those who teach the subject.
An Introduction to Anthropology. By Wilson Wallis.
$3.75. New York: Harper and Brothers.
ROFESSOR WALLIS'S book is in
many ways distinctive. He has carefully kept in mind the fact
that he was writing a mere in. troduction to that wide field of scientific knowledge known as anthropology, and has 'avoided theory as much as possible. He will not burden his text with the oretical vaporings. Rather he advises the student to grasp the facts first and, then build up his own inferences and theories. In anthropology generalizations are dangerouhas, the author points out; the more one studies the field the more cautious does one become in making the enticing inference
The outstanding feature of the present. volume is
treatment which the wealth of introductory anthropological information is given. Hitherto textbooksi on anthropology have stressed the geography of culture, or its history, or a gen?ral view of pl.ysical evolution, racial classification and cultural progress. Few pooks have even attempted to sum up he findings of anthropology in the vari. Dus fields with which it deals. One had o turn to highly specialized discussions, incyclopedias or monographs to get inormation on a particular field, and at hat all that one mastered was some iny bit of the special field that one was vas investigating. There was
no text which would take each field and give is at least a preliminary survey of all its parts. This lack the author has tried to provide for; in his volume the various pecial fields of anthropology are viewed n perspectivewe get a synthetic view of all their parts and we note their in. errelation. We'are given a series of jorizontal cuts through all cultures llong the line of the special field being liscussed. Thus, under Part III, one nay read chapters on the domestication of animals, trade, money and finance, oods. All these chapters are grouped inder the general title of "Economic and ndustrial Activity.” Under the general tead of "Science, Magic and Religion" ire treatments of "geography, psychol: gy, charms." Probably the most inter'sting part of the book is the section itled "Social Morphology and Culture" under which comes a most interesting rray of chapters: ethics, opinion, status if the child, birth rites, marriage rites, leath rites, mythology, decorative art.
It is very pleasant, for instance, o be able to read about the position of romen in prehistoric culture periode, loting what one culture did and what nother did not do, getting a compre. lensive and not too detailed view of the hinle matter.