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Book Reviews


though issued in an edition of 20,000 copies, this writer urges that an Ihglish-language version be published, with full credit to its Soviet compilers.

The High T’i~lley.KENNETH I<. READ.New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1965, xvii, 266 pp., glossary, 19 illustrations, index. $6.95.

Rrvirwed by CORADu BQIS,Harvard University

The dust jacket of this handsomely produced book states it to be “an autobio- graphical account of two years spent in the central highlands of New Guinea.” It is that but also more. It is a selective and personalized ethnography giving us what we rarely find in professional literature: a frank and humanistic account of episodes in the lives of people seen through the eyes of a man \Tho felt almost too sensitively his sympathy for but his distance from them. The Galuku-Gama live in the Asaro valley, south of the crest of the Bismark Range, and are reached by plane from Lae. The countryside is admirably depicted and the descriptions of episodes and people are vivid. The reader, however, should be warned that the people and environment descrihed in this book reminded me so much of similar landscapes, people, and episodes in Alor that I may read greater vividness into the book than others will see. The ethnographic episodes discuss successful and unsuccessful bids for leadership, the early play period oi boys iollowed by drastic initiation rites, marriage exchanges, sex roles, childbirth, and the endless round of gardening punctuated by dramatic quarrels among a vigorous and aggressive people. This is certainly a franker document than most ethnographers are willing to write or able to write so well. It is not. a complete or a scientific account, but at least it avoids what is oiten the pseudo-precision of more scientifically pretentious documents. We can only hope that Professor Read will fill in the lacunae more than he has so far in profes- sional publications. Occasionally Kenneth Read leaves me unsure, not of the description of episodes that he reports, but of his psychological interpretations. His very sensitivity may at times betray him. I wonder, for example, whether his friend and patron, the leader Makis, was as objective as he is reported to have been, whether he was a force for modernization and whether he sensed that he was being outstripped by changes? Is the anguish of Asemo, the initiate, the author’s or Aserno’s? Did the much loved child, Tarova, suffer from her early marriage as much as Kenneth Read and as much as he imputes to her kinsmen? The time is past when psychological factors can be guessed at rather than in- vestigated. However, just as clinical psychology is often essential to raising questions that more rigorous psychologists then grapple with, so this type of document raises questions to which others can address themselves more precisely. This book will arouse dehatc since the differences between the humanists and the scientists in anthropology are still unresolved. Comparing The Righ VaZley to a few of the more distinguished personal documents that I happen to have read in recent years, I consider it outstanding in honesty, empathy, and eloquence, if not always in objec- tivit.y. It avoids the disjoint.ed intellectualizations of L6vi-Strauss’ Tristes Tropiques (19.59, the self-engrossment of Rowen’s Rel.zi,rn to Laughter (1954), the youthful ad- venturing of Huxley’s ;l.fable .Sawtigees (19j7), and the made-to-order patness of many articlcs in Casagrande’s In the Compaizy of Mun (1960). So long as we consider field work in unfamiliar societies essential to the formation of every professional anthropologist, the good personal documents have an important function for training students. The High Valley must not be read as a handbook for


American Anthropologist

[68, 19661

ethnographic research, nor is it a model ethnographic report to be recommended to students. This was surely not Professor Read’s intention. But it is an important docu- ment of a sensitive ethnographer’s reaction to the experience of “cue-lessness” in a strange and perplexing society. Participant observation and empathy arc necessary to good field work. Unfortunately, they are not sufficient.

The Suvage and the Innocent. DAVIDMAYBURY-LEWIS.London: Evans BrothersLimited, 196.5; also, Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing Company, 1965. 270 pp., 37 illustrations, index, 2 maps. 35 s., $4.95.

Reviewed by CHARLESWAGLEY,Columbia University

This is the story oC eight months’ field research among the Sherente and of a slightly longer period among the Shavante Indians of central Brazil. As the author states in his

preface: “I have tried to put down here many of those things which never get told in technical anthropological writings.” He has been eminently successfulin doing so. Furthermore, although Maybury-Lewis’ book is not intended as a travel book, it is far better than most books about the Brazilian “jungle” and the Indians. The author understood what he saw and heard-or he had the honesty to say that he did not under- stand. His story is intrinsically interesting and thrilling without seeking to be spectacu- lar. The book is well written. I am amazed that he was able to record so much dialogue and I am pleased that so much of it rings true to my ear. The Sherente and the Shavante are central G&speaking tribes who were once

thought to be a single people-or at least closely related

ent book that they are not as similar as once supposed.) In the late 18th and early 19th century, both tribes had contact with Brazilian frontier society. The Sherente, after a period of hostility, entered into peaceful relations with Brazilians in about 18.50. As a

result they were highly acculturated and living in misery when David Maybury-Lewis and his wife, Pia, came to study them in 1955 and 1956. The Shavante, on the other hand, reverted to outright hostility in the 19th century. They migrated westward across the Araguaya River where they fought and killed frontiersmen, missionaries, and Indian officerswho intruded into their territory. It was not until 1946 that they entered into peaceful relations with the Brazilian Indian Protective Service. When Maybury- Lewis arrived (now accompanied by his wife and a baby son) in 1958,the Shavante were still leading a way of life little changed from that of aboriginal times. He had the un- usual experience of studying a basically hunting and gathering society before it was disrupted and disorganized. Both tribes were already relatively accessible when the Maybury-Lewises visited them. The Sherente could be reached overland from the town of Carolina on the Tocantins River. There was a landing strip serviced by Brazilian air force planes at the Indian post in Shavante country. But nothing is really accessible in central Brazil. Maybury-Lewis describes vividly the seemingly eternal days, even weeks, of waiting for the boat that does not come, the baggage that got left behind, or the airplane which suddenly swoops down without warning. Waiting is a large part of any field trip to this part of Brazil. He also describes his first contacts with the people, his relations with informants, his own moods and anxieties, and his vicissitudes and successes infield research. There is also considerable social and cultural data about the Sherente and the Shavante in this book. His data on the Sherente is particularly valuable since Curt Nimuendaju’s monograph reporting on field work in 1937 is available. In my opinion, Maybury-Lewis’ account of his field experience among the Shavante would have been more useful to a professional audience if it had been preceded by his forthcoming mono-

tribes. (I gather from the pres-