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Publisher's Summary

Eating one's own kind is a completely natural behavior in thousands of species, including humans. Throughout history we have engaged in cannibalism for reasons related to famine, burial rites, and medicine. Cannibalism has also been used as a form of terrorism and as the ultimate expression of filial piety.

With unexpected wit and a wealth of knowledge, Bill Schutt takes us on a tour of the field, exploring exciting new avenues of research and investigating questions like why so many fish eat their offspring and some amphibians consume their mothers' skin; why sexual cannibalism is an evolutionary advantage for certain spiders; why, until the end of the 18th century, British royalty regularly ate human body parts; and how cannibalism might be linked to the extinction of Neanderthals. Today the subject of humans consuming one another has been relegated to the realm of horror movies, fiction, and the occasional psychopath. But as climate change progresses and humans see more famine, disease, and overcrowding, biological and cultural constraints may well disappear. These are the very factors that lead to outbreaks of cannibalism - in other species and our own.

©2017 Bill Schutt (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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I couldn't get through it

I was very excited about this book, but I found myself bored, not only with the prose, but also with the narration. I love science, and non - fiction, but this just did not engage me (and the attempts at humor fell flat).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Adam
  • Raleigh, NC, United States
  • 05-10-17

Very fun and interesting popsci book

I love biology books about strange and exotic animals and this one hit the mark. Venemous and toxic animals aren't something I was specifically interested in but this book made the topic fascinating.

An added bonus was the authors personality and the way it comes through in the writing. I usually prefer my science books to be a little on the dryer and strictly informative side, but occasionally an author is just really funny and interesting. That was the case with this book.


Fantastic book and totally worth a listen. I only wish there was more of it or more books by the author!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Ruined it at the end

Once the author brought up climate change everything he said before that became suspicious. I can't recommend a book based on that agenda being thrown into actual science.

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  • Thomas
  • NAPERVILLE, IL, United States
  • 10-21-17

Pretty Good

Actually Pretty Good-
I learned a lot about Human conditions- Wasn't planning on it- Thought it would be all animals - Solid --

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Strange Topic, Great Book, Loved It

I loved this book and I hope none of you think ill of me for it.

This book starts by introducing you to cannibalism in animal nature (which happens more often than one may think) before moving on to incidents in human history, up into modern day, and then even addresses the taboo associated with cannibalism and where it may stem from. It's a very fascinating read about a topic that no one wants to talk about. What I love about this book is that Schutt from the very beginning tells the reader that he, in no way, is there to sensationalize those who the public may consider the 'modern day cannibals' of recent history and refuses to give any attention to murders or serial killers and their acts. I can appreciate that since I feel like those people, their lives, and their actions are something that are so sensationalized already and if that's what you're looking for then you could always find that somewhere else. This book is about cannibalism in nature, in survival situations, and in culture. I thought the animal science and information was fascinating and it made me think a lot about where taboos come from and how our abhorrence for cannibalism may differ greatly with another culture.