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Anthropology: Five Books

In the comments section to one of my recent posts about Jared Diamond, SM reader Michael asks:

Could anyone recommend some accessible anthropology literature? What would be 5 (or so) good books a generally educated person could read?

I think this is a great question.  I actually asked a similar question last August in this post, and while there were a few people who provided their 5 picks (here and here), I’d like to raise this question again to see what we come up with here.  If you had to pick 5 anthropology books that best represent the discipline, and that are also accessible to general readers, what would they be?  Just to get the ball rolling, here’s my new list:

  1. Debt, the First 5,000 Years by David Graeber
  2. Paradise in Ashes by Beatriz Manz
  3. Culture on Tour by Edward Bruner
  4. Righteous Dopefiend by Bourgois and Schonberg
  5. Behind the Gates by Setha Low

My list is by no means definitive, and it’s almost impossible to pick only five. My list also obviously has a socio-cultural anthropology slant.  So it would be great to see suggestions from linguistic anthropologists, biological anthropologists, archaeologists, medical anthropologists, etc.  What books would you pick?  Let’s hear it.

PS: Thanks, Michael, for bringing up this question.


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