The Old Way: A Story of the First People

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Macmillan, Oct 30, 2007 - Social Science - 368 pages
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One of our most influential anthropologists reevaluates her long and illustrious career by returning to her roots—and the roots of life as we know it

When Elizabeth Marshall Thomas first arrived in Africa to live among the Kalahari San, or bushmen, it was 1950, she was nineteen years old, and these last surviving hunter-gatherers were living as humans had lived for 15,000 centuries. Thomas wound up writing about their world in a seminal work, The Harmless People (1959). It has never gone out of print.
Back then, this was uncharted territory and little was known about our human origins. Today, our beginnings are better understood. And after a lifetime of interest in the bushmen, Thomas has come to see that their lifestyle reveals great, hidden truths about human evolution.
As she displayed in her bestseller, The Hidden Life of Dogs, Thomas has a rare gift for giving voice to the voices we don't usually listen to, and helps us see the path that we have taken in our human journey. In The Old Way, she shows how the skills and customs of the hunter-gatherer share much in common with the survival tactics of our animal predecessors. And since it is "knowledge, not objects, that endure" over time, Thomas vividly brings us to see how linked we are to our origins in the animal kingdom.
The Old Way is a rare and remarkable achievement, sure to stir up controversy, and worthy of celebration.


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The old way: a story of the first people

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In 1989, Thomas updated her classicThe Harmless People (1959), about the southern African "San" or, previously, "Bushmen," with a chapter on their troubles under unsympathetic regimes and difficult ... Read full review

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User Review  - Stbalbach - LibraryThing

I first heard of the Bushmen through National Geographic's Genographic Project (Spencer Wells "The Journey of Man") which found genetic evidence suggesting Bushmen are one of the oldest, if not the ... Read full review


Fifteen Hundred Centuries
Our Lineage
Meat and Fire
The Kalahari
The Search
Place fo 7 Hunting
i0 Dangerous Animals
i8 Tsumkwe
i9 Return
The Present

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About the author (2007)

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is the author of seven books, nonfiction and fiction —among them The Hidden Life of Dogs, The Harmless People, and Reindeer Moon. She's written for The New Yorker, National Geographic, and The Atlantic, and lives in New Hampshire.

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