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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (8 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470279664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470279663
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 211,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Covers the latest competing theories in the field Get a handle on the fundamentals of biological and cultural anthropology When did the first civilizations arise? How many human languages exist? The answers are found in anthropology — and this friendly guide explains its concepts in clear detail. You′ll see how anthropology developed as a science, what it tells us about our ancestors, and how it can help with some of the hot–button issues our world is facing today. Discover: How anthropologists learn about the past Humanity′s earliest activities, from migration to civilization Why our language differs from other animal communication How to find a career in anthropology

About the Author

Cameron M. Smith’s fascination with humanity was sparked on a 1984 trip to Mexico’s Maya ruins; by 1987, he was a student of both Harvard University’s early human archaeology field school at Kenya’s Leakey research station and the University of London’s Institute of Archaeology. He then went to Durham University in northern England for a Joint Honours BA in Anthropology & Archaeology, followed by an MA in Anthropology at Portland State University (in Portland, Oregon) and a PhD from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. Since 2002, Dr. Smith has taught a wide variety of courses as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Portland State University’s Department of Anthropology; he has also taught at Washington State University and Linfield College. Dr. Smith’s scientific works have been published in journals such as the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and the Journal of Field Archaeology and books published by International Monographs in Prehistory and Oxford’s British Archaeology Reports. His research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation–funded Barrow Arctic Science Consortium. Reaching out from the academic world, Dr. Smith has written popular–science articles for Scientific American MIND , Archaeology , Playboy , Spaceflight , Skeptical Inquirer , South American Explorer , The Next Step , Cultural Survival Quarterly , The Bulletin of Primitive Technology , and other magazines. Anthropology For Dummies is Dr. Smith’s second book. His first, written with Charles Sullivan, was The Top Ten Myths About Evolution (Prometheus, 2006). Evan T. Davies received his BA from Cornell University where he began his studies in anthropology. He earned a PhD in cultural anthropology from Rice University, and has conducted fieldwork throughout Europe, the South Pacific, and in many locations throughout sub–Saharan Africa. His doctoral dissertation reported on the land use patterns of the BaAka foragers of the central African rainforests whose subsistence and hunting strategies he studied while living with them through the seasons. He has recently become involved with the protection of archaeological sites in Iraq.

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jessius101 on 19 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I had a reading list as long as my arm to get through to prepare for my university course (anthro of course)! I had read several introductory texts to grasp the kind of reading i would have to do later on and academic essays etc. This as was such a helpful book-it gives a complete overview rather than an exclusively sociological one which was really great!! Would definitely recommend for prospective students. The other great one to read is 'Small Places, Large Issues' by Thomas Eriksen - the best of all these type of introductory texts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Cox on 22 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent general review, occasionally has to force himself not to be too serious. Wide-ranging and well written, wouldn't do to be too much of a dummy !
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By roygeorge on 27 Oct 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great help to understanding anthropology without getting too heavily involved in the subject matter and not requiring too much previous knowledge.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. T. Bates on 15 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this for my daughter to help with the Anthropology A levels. She has found it very helpful and easy to understand.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 24 reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Great for a passing interest or more advanced studies 24 Aug 2008
By Michael Carpenter - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm a junior with an anthropology major, so I'm not exactly the highest source when it comes to recommending anthropology books, but as a general reader and someone with an interest in anthropology, I can say that this is one of the best general study books on anthropology that I've read. There are clear explanations for each of the four subfields of anthropology, which are biological (or physical) anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. While obviously not a comprehensive study of any of the subfields (it is, after all, a For Dummies book), it provides a good amount of information on these subjects without becoming too convoluted.I felt that some of the information on biological anthropology can get a bit exhausting, such as with dates and fossil names, but that may just be because I've never been great at memorizing dates and whatnot.

I feel that there is something for everyone in this book. Even if you're not an anthropology student, there are still topics in this book, such as the origin of language, tool-making, and culture in general, that anyone who is interested in other fellow human beings (i.e, everyone) will find relevant and useful.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Excellent overview for students and general public 23 Oct 2009
By Guy P. Harrison - Published on
Format: Paperback
I love this book! As a serious life-long student of anthropology I was familiar with most of the content, but this well-written and gentle survey of the wonderful and important world of anthropology was a great ride, nonetheless. While prospective and new anthropology students will find much of interest, I'm confident just about anyone else would find this work fascinating and relevant too. There is so much here and it flies by with ease so no one should fear either boredom or cerebral stress. Many people don't seem to realize how broad the field of anthropology is. Explore this book to find out: from linguistics, to archaeology; from "race" to religion; from Homo erectus to farming, it's all here. And none of it is stale or monotonous. For example, there is even a cool section on anthropologically themed books and films. I also loved "Ten Things to Remember About Anthropology". That chapter alone is worth the price of admission.

The best endorsement I can offer is this: I will be giving away a few copies to friends this Christmas. I think a book like this can be especially powerful with young people. The authors will never know, but I am sure that many careers in anthropology will be inspired by this fun and enlightening book.

--Guy P. Harrison, author of
Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity


50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Kay's Husband - Published on
Format: Paperback
Though I have seen many of these "dummy" books on bookstore shelves until this one on Anthropology I have passed them all by. Following a B.S. in Anthropology in college I could not dismiss this one.

To my surprise the book does a terrific job for the layman and for the student. All the information for either study or reference is here. Great too for cramming for those mid-terms or finals. I think so highly of this book that I think my next purchase will be the book Archaeology for Dummies.

This volume is one designed for the reader to either thumb through stopping to read those sections of interest and is also designed for the reader who wants to read completely through all sections. There are pictures, maps, drawings, etc., with bold type and icons for calling attention to items the author felt of importance. A good book for use up to and through the introductory level course in Anthropology, but not for the graduate student unless used for reference.

A real addition to the practical books available to anyone interested all aspects of Anthropology. I recall that though our lecture hall classes were filled they were not packed, there were no standing in line ever to register for a course in Anthropology. Mostly the other way round, we had to have so many students signed up for the course to have it taught as scheduled. Sometimes it took a few quarters to catch up with a course that was desired or required.

Whether presently involved with a course in Anthropology or just having curious interest in this practical and far ranging field, this is an excellent starting point and at a reasonable cost. Anyone taking Anthropology courses in college these days will be only too aware of book costs on campus.

Semper Fi.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Lifesaver 23 Nov 2008
By Kathryn Protzko - Published on
Format: Paperback
this was a great buy, probably the best book for the layman intrigued in Anthopology. However, having a BA in anthropology and I found this was absent, considerable points in anthropology . I used this book in the early intoduction classes of anthropology in the past and i ended up having to write all over the margins because there was much not included such as mentioning pre history (the time before written history ) although, you do get what you pay for. this book was though, like i said, a lifesaver of both grades, time and energy. i highly reccomend this to an undergratuate studying anthropology or archaeology.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Anthropology for Dummies 20 Jun 2011
By Greeneyes - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent reading for those who would like to explore what anthropology is about. Great companion to the Archaeology for Dummies.
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