The Tree of Culture

The Tree of Culture[Reading] ➿ The Tree of Culture ➶ Ralph Linton – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk PB PB. Just now, I was amazed to discover that, when I first set up my Goodreads shelves back in 2008, I somehow forgot to include this book The oversight is stunning, when you consider that this is easily one of the most fascinating and intellectually stimulating books I ve ever read Ralph Linton was, in his day, a world class scholar in the field of cultural anthropology, a wide ranging traveler knowledgeable about the entire panorama of mankind s cultural history Here, he set out to condense as m Just now, I was amazed to discover that, when I first set up my Goodreads shelves back in 2008, I somehow forgot to include this book The oversight is stunning, when you consider that this is easily one of the most fascinating and intellectually stimulating books I ve ever read Ralph Linton was, in his day, a world class scholar in the field of cultural anthropology, a wide ranging traveler knowledgeable about the entire panorama of mankind s cultural history Here, he set out to condense as much of that knowledge as he could into one volume written for the intelligent and interested layman, without jargon or footnotes though he does append an over 16 page bibliography, broken down by chapters , and written in a style that s the very opposite of dry and dull He unfortunately died in 1953, before entirely finishing the work but the project was completed by Adelin Linton from his extensive notes, and transcriptions of the lecture series which inspired the book The genesis of the material in lecture form contributes to the wit and facility with concrete examples displayed here, and I d guess that he was very popular with students at the universities where he taught which included Columbia and Yale.While this isn t a conventional history book as such, much of its material is an invaluable resource for the study of world history in fact, I referred to it often when I taught World Civilization I at the college level The 51 chapters are divided into ten parts The first of these deals with human origins, and the description of the world of the Pleistocene in which modern humans first appear on the scene While Linton was an evolutionist, he doesn t dwell on that subject his concern is primarily in describing how people developed once they were here,so than in speculating on how they got here He also regards Neanderthals as fully human, not as some separate species of ape men, and on this point I believe he makes a better case than William Fix in The Bone Peddlers Selling Evolution or Hugh Ross in The Genesis Question Scientific Advances and the Accuracy of Genesis The next part deals with human races, or physical anthropology unlike most evolutionists of his generation, Linton was NOT racist , and the processes of social and cultural development Then we move on to Basic Inventions that ultimately facilitated civilization fire and tools, domestication of plants and animals agriculture , metallurgy, writing, etc., and the formation of the first cities and states Part Four covers hunter gatherer cultures, both as they existed in the Old Stone Age and as they have existed in some places in historical times.Each part of the remainder of the book treats a particular geographic area and the development of its distinctive cultural complexes, usually from prehistory down to the point where there began to be significant outside contact to the point of undermining or diluting the basic cultural distinctiveness, or fusing it into something else The areas looked at are Southeast Asia Southwest Asia the Middle East and Neolithic Europe the ancient Mediterranean and early Islamic worlds Africa the Orient India, China and Japan and the New World before Columbus.For someone who has a fundamental curiosity about how the world around him her got to be the way it is, and what the human past was like which describes me pretty well this book is a treasure it really brings out how much of our basic culture is ancient or even prehistoric in origin There s a wealth of absorbing detail here Linton can make even primitive iron working processes interesting A lot of illustrations enhance the book, and it s also well indexed All in all, a book that remains highly educational and brain stimulating,than fifty years after it was published This has been a favorite of mine for nearly 20 years now I cannot recommend this outstanding work highly enough Amazingly informative book on cultural anthropology One of the classics.