I searched for something like this book after reading the articles of Bruce Perry, a physician who has dedicated his career to the study of the affect of abuse and neglect on neurological organization and development in infants and children, and hearing him present at a scientific conference. Most recently, Dr. Perry has maintained that our contemporary developmental environment is social impoverished when compared to the environment in which we have developed as a species. This has a deleterious effect on social development in children, adolescents, and ultimately in adults; leading to many of the problems of behavior and interaction we experience in school and in our society in general. I reasoned that if he were correct, then we should see very different patterns of parenting in non technological societies, patterns that more closely approximate what Dr. Perry would consider a social appropriate developmental environment.
I was overjoyed to find this book which is a well developed and carefully constructed series of studies on gathering/hunting peoples and their child rearing practices. The authors and editors are careful not to include cultures that are not truly gathering/hunting societies but rather agrarian. This gives a much clearer and more consistent overview of the matter. The differences between the practices in these societies and our own are clear and point to the validity of what Dr. Perry contends.
Although the work was not designed for popular reading, it is not overly technical and the authors, like most good scientists, express themselves in clear and transparent language. I would strongly recommend this work to anyone concerned with child development whether that interest in professional, clinical or personal.