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Cannibals and kings : the origins of cultures

Author: Marvin Harris
Publisher: New York : Random House, ©1977.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This volume presents a systematic discussion about the reasons for a culture making a transition from egalitarian hunter-gatherer to hierarchically based states as population density increases. According to the author, humans shifted from a low-carbohydrate diet largely based on hunter-gatherer sources to a high-carbohydrate diet largely based on agricultural when intensive agriculture began. He maintains that this  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Harris, Marvin, 1927-2001.
Cannibals and kings.
New York : Random House, ©1977
(OCoLC)644610560
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Marvin Harris
ISBN: 0394407652 9780394407654
OCLC Number: 2984474
Description: xii, 239 pages ; 25 cm
Contents: Culture and nature --
Murders in Eden --
The origin of agriculture --
The origin of war --
Proteins and the fierce people --
The origin of male supremacy and of the Oedipus complex --
The origin of pristine states --
The pre-Columbian states of Mesoamerica --
The cannibal kingdom --
The lamb of mercy --
Forbidden flesh --
The origin of the sacred cow --
The hydraulic trap --
The origin of capitalism --
The industrial bubble.
Responsibility: Marvin Harris.

Abstract:

This volume presents a systematic discussion about the reasons for a culture making a transition from egalitarian hunter-gatherer to hierarchically based states as population density increases. According to the author, humans shifted from a low-carbohydrate diet largely based on hunter-gatherer sources to a high-carbohydrate diet largely based on agricultural when intensive agriculture began. He maintains that this diet change resulted in more body fat, which for females led to earlier menarche and a smaller reduction in fertility from nursing infants, which then led to shorter periods between pregnancies. He discusses the development of pork as a taboo food in ancient Israelite society and also the cow as a sacred animal and taboo food in Hindu culture. He also examines the concept of the hydraulic empire, ancient civilizations such as China, Persia, and Egypt that were reliant on water for agriculture.

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