Savages and Civilization: Who Will Survive?

Jack Weatherford, Author
Jack Weatherford, Author Crown Publishers $24 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-58860-4
Reviewed on: 01/03/1994
Release date: 01/01/1994
Anthropologist Weatherford ( Indian Givers ) ranges through vast stretches of history and geography in this interesting but disappointing survey of the relationship between tribal peoples and ``so-called civilized peoples of the cities.'' Although the study is structured almost like a textbook, Weatherford's fluid style elevates his descriptions in the initial section, ``Tribal Culture,'' on the foraging life of Australian aborigines, the domestication of animals and the beginning of slavery. In the second section, ``National Culture,'' the author focuses on the city of Djenne in Mali to track the rise of urbanization, nationalism and attendant problems--environmental, political and social. Lastly, in ``World Culture,'' he criticizes Westerners for romanticizing tribal societies, explores the growing ethnic tensions of the modern era and argues that detribalized ``cultural castaways'' threaten every society. Weatherford's argument that the city will no longer serve as a center of civilization is debatable, and his concluding plea for mutual respect and cultural autonomy throughout the world needs to be accompanied by political analysis. (Jan.)