Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, entertaining and uplifting, 10 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Don't Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle (Paperback)
This book was recommended by someone who works with tribes in the Amazon. I say that because it's not something I would normally pick up. Firstly, it is well written, judiciously edited and entertaining - unusual for a book ostensibly about linguistics! Secondly it takes us on both the physical and mental journey of the author as his struggle to understand the intriguing language and cultural interactions of the Pirahas people leads to the undermining of his "Born Again Christian" faith. The language of the Pirahas appears to have been structured around their culture (one in the eye for those tedious Chomkskites), and both are well designed to avoid the sort of religious nonsense and brainwashing that Christian missionaries inflict. They don't even have a creation myth. As Dan unwraps the mysteries of their language and the cultural interactions, he starts to think differently and has an epiphany that turns the lights on about the truth of religion.

Sadly, Dan Everett may have seen the light but it appears his own journey from darkness and the resulting book has just made the Pirahas more of a challenge for missionaries. They now appear to be focussing on the young Pirahas. How long before missionaries and the pressures of the modern world transform "the happiest people on earth" into miserable frightened god botherers - perhaps Dan will write a sequel to follow up? "Don't sleep, there are missionaries..."
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