The primary definition of anthropology, according to Merriam-Webster, is: "the science of human beings; especially: the study of human beings and their ancestors through time and space and in relation to physical character, environmental and social relations, and culture."

I base my usage here on the first part of that (which I think should read "the study of human beings.") I include in this category, therefore, books about formal studies of anthropology, psychology and sociology. I also include less formal works — for example, Bernie Zilbergeld's excellent self-help guide for adolescent males.

As I did in the first instantiation of my Web site, I wall some of these off. This may be an excess of caution, but I'll stick with it for now. Garish and forbidding, the gateway to these sequestered reviews lies below the main list.

List of available reviews on anthropology

(Linked to review)
Achenbach, Joel Captured by Aliens 5.0 2/18/2004 All those who have been so captured — that is, had their imaginations captured by aliens, scientists as well as UFO believers — are covered in this entertaining and thoughtful book.
Barley, Stephen R. Gurus, Hired Guns, and Warm Bodies 5.0 1/26/2006 The authors examine the care and feeding of professional contractors in the high-tech culture of California's Silicon Valley, and speculate on contracting's future place in society.
Bickerton, Derek Adam's Tongue 5.0 2/03/2012 Derek Bickerton, linguist at the University of Hawaii, has an idea how human language came to be — and a warning.
Borsook, Paulina Cyberselfish 4.5 7/19/2011 A close look at Silicon Valley during the heyday of the personal computer revolution finds the creators of that revolution, by and large, too far into extreme, anti-government libertarianism and far too dedicated to the outlook of "I got mine; everybody else can fend for themselves."
Carr, Nicholas The Shallows 5.0 8/18/2014 Yet another look at the way modern communication systems work against sustained concentration
Eldredge, Niles Dominion 4.5 5/20/2011 Eldredge, a Curator at New York's Museum of Natural History, says our unnatural history is in big trouble if we don't change our profligate ways.
Gelernter, David Drawing Life 5.0 10/30/2000 A meditation on surviving both the Unabomber and the educational system that produced him
Hammond, Allen Which World? 5.0 9/18/2011 From a year of intense work, Dr. Hammond and others distilled three plausible scenarios for the next fifty years. Supporting information is provided.
Harrison, Albert A. After Contact 5.0 3/24/2002 How will the human race react when it hears from ET? Psychologist Albert Harrison looks at the current state of human affairs, and is encouraged.
Jackson, Maggie Distracted 5.0 6/10/2010 We're deluged by information from a society that demands we be good at multitasking. What are these requirements doing to our minds? Maggie Jackson takes a good long look at the question.
Kolata, Gina Ultimate Fitness 5.0 9/16//2010 New York Times reporter Kolata here probes the world of workouts and exposes a health scam.
Larbalestier, Justine The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction 4.0 2/15/2012 Flashes of insight and some unique scholarship by Australian academic Larbalestier make this work useful despite its excessive jargon and overstatement of its feminist case.
Levitt, Steven D. Freakonomics 5.0 6/03/2007 Why do drug dealers live with their mothers? What was behind the drop in crime during the 1990s? Find out in this book by "rogue economist" Levitt and New York Times reporter Dubner. It's like no economics book you've read.
Mooney, Chris The Republican Brain 5.0 5/16/2012 Following up on his excellent survey of how Republicans misunderstand science, here Mooney investigates why they do so. It is a worthy successor to the previous book.
Pinker, Susan The Sexual Paradox 4.5 1/12/2010 Developmental psychologist Susan Pinker gives us an empathetic and useful examination of how the career choices of men and women relate to their biological differences
Postrel, Virginia The Future and its Enemies 5.0 6/17/2002 Those who try to prevent change, and those who try to control it, block the paths to genuine progress.
Ray, Paul H. The Cultural Creatives 5.0 2/28/2003 Thirteen years of research went into this book, which portrays through anecdotes and statistics the cultural evolution being wrought by the 50 million people making up its namesake group.
Rifkin, Jeremy The European Dream 5.0 1/09/2006 Is the American Dream obsolete? Jeremy Rifkin argues in this information-dense book that it is, and should be supplanted by the more communitarian model he labels the European Dream.
Ruggiero, Vincent Ryan Warning: Nonsense is Destroying America 4.0 4/24/2006 Mr. Ruggiero seeks to analyze the harmful effects of popular culture on America, but lets his hatred of that popular culture lead him to overstate his case.
Sagan, Carl The Demon-Haunted World 5.0 1/07/1997 Why ignorance and superstition persist — and why they must not
Sagan, Carl The Dragons of Eden 5.0 1/14/1997 Speculations on the origin of human intelligence
Sagan, Carl Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors 5.0 1/22/1997 An exploration of human nature in its ecological and historical contexts
Teilhard du Chardin, Pierre The Phenomenon of Man 4.0 6/18/2003 In his best-known work, the renowned paleontologist and Jesuit Father attempts to reconcile evolution and Catholicism.
Weeks, David Eccentrics 5.0 11/08/2000 A layman's version of Dr. Weeks' report on the study he did of the eccentric personality
Weissman, Dick Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution 4.5 11/23/2011 Popular music has the ability to inspire, to comfort, even to heal. But can it — can protest music, especially — bring about social change?
Williams, Joy Ill Nature 4.0 12/31/2009 Novelist Joy Williams here holds forth on the environment (and a few other things) in a collection of her essays.
Wylie, Philip Generation of Vipers 5.0 1/10/2006 Written in 1942, shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked, this famously forthright work of social criticism has much about it that still rings true and valuable.
Quality Ranges for Book Reviews
The books are rated from 0 to 5 in increments of 0.5. Colors represent the following quality ranges:
4.0 to 5.0 Quality: HIGH (Color = Aqua) Competent to exceptional; well worth the money
2.0 to 3.5 Quality: FAIR (Color = Lime) Useful despite some flaws; may or may not be worth buying.
0.5 to 1.5 Quality: POOR (Color = Yellow) Seriously flawed; read it if you wish, but don't buy it.
0.0 to 0.0 Quality: YUCK (Color = Fuchsia) Avoid this book at all costs!
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This page was last modified on 8 October 2016.