When Elizabeth Marshall Thomas first arrived in Africa to live among the Kalahari San, or bushmen, it was 1950, she was 19 years old, and these last surviving hunter-gatherers were living as humans had lived for 15,000 centuries. Thomas wound up writing about their world in a seminal work, The Harmless People. It has never gone out of print.
Back then, this was uncharted territory, and little was known about our human origins. Today, our beginnings are better understood. And after a lifetime of interest in the bushmen, Thomas has come to see that their lifestyle reveals great, hidden truths about human evolution.
As she displayed in her best seller, The Hidden Life of Dogs, Thomas has a rare gift for giving voice to the voices we don't usually listen to. She helps us see the path that we have taken in our human journey. In The Old Way, she shows how the skills and customs of the hunter-gatherer share much in common with the survival tactics of our animal predecessors. And since it is "knowledge, not objects, that endure" over time, Thomas vividly brings us to see how linked we are to our origins in the animal kingdom. The Old Way is a rare and remarkable achievement, sure to stir up controversy, and is worthy of celebration.
©2006 Elizabeth Marshall Thomas; (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.
This was a very interesting listen about the author's experience with some of the most isolated humans in modern times. It provides some understanding of how our ancestors probably lived thousands of years ago. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in anthropology or evolution to gain a better sense of our common heritage.
Although I have not read the text version, I imagine that listening to the author narrate this book adds to the flavor and beauty of this description of the lives of African Kalahari people in their indigenous state and their 21st Century status. The author/narrator is able to give authenticity to her prose by adding the click sounds to the words and names from her subjects' language that she includes in the narration. I simply enjoyed and learned from every sentence Ms. Marshall-Thomas generated, especially her description of her day spent foraging for food with the women of the group she studied.
At all levels this book is excellent.
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