Book Reviews

The Lonely Ape that Told Himself Stories: The Necessity of Stories for Human Survival

“The author introduces new concepts that are relevant both to trauma researchers and to those who investigate culture, stories and our deepest need for narratives for our survival. The book is unquestionably innovative and well written, coherent and a pleasure to read...is full of hand-on exercises that are helping the reader to experiment with the topics of each chapter, thus making the book not only extremely interesting but also tangible.” - Daphna Slonim, M.D. Psychiatrist, Director of DSA Clinic Los Angeles

"The content of this book is extremely valuable and integrates theory and philosophy from several perspectives. This book would be new in the field and would pave the way forward n new ideas and concepts. It takes a novel approach to the subject and challenges us to think again, about what might be dismissed as 'just a story'." - Sue Jennings PhD, Professor, University of Derby, UK, Founder of Dramatherapy Federation, Social Anthropologist, Specialist in Neuro-Dramatic-Play

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Neanderthals in Plato’s Cave: A Relativistic Approach to Cultural Evolution

“Having read George Steiner’s monograph I can confirm that I find it a most impressive achievement. This volume is on the very cutting edge of research in the field it addresses. Its author is certainly one of the most innovative writers on the subject of cognitive human evolution. Here he proposes a volume dedicated to the role of neoteny in hominin evolution, particularly its cultural dimensions. What is from my perspective the most impressive aspect of the work is the exploration of the role exograms played in this. Exograms, ‘memory traces’ stored outside the brain, are the most significant factor in cognitive evolution, and yet they are arguably the most neglected. So far, only two authors have ever considered them in any detail since the late 1980s, despite their fundamental importance in the question of what makes us human, and how we managed to experience the world in a conscious format. Steiner corrects this imbalance, and for that reason alone his book holds great promise. His encyclopaedic knowledge of the generic subject and his most innovative patterns of reasoning have produced a truly worthwhile addition to the rather limited literature on the topic. An aspect I find particularly important is that Steiner did not approach this discipline from the evolutionary perspective initially, but from the direction of a desire to understand the products of human cognition, through his work with paleoart, specifically rock art. Therefore he is not stuck in a particular epistemological groove, but has cultivated the ability to see the issues in an inter-disciplinary perspective.” - Professor Robert G. Bednarik, Convener and Editor-in-Chief, IFRAO; Australian Rock Art Research Association (AURA), Australia

"I have read the manuscript of the proposed book by George Steiner entitled Neanderthals in Plato’s Cave: A Relativistic Approach to Cultural Evolution, and found it to be an extremely thought provoking piece of work. It is well written, clearly organized and well referenced. The author shows a good grasp of the relevant literature on cultural evolution and prehistory and offers a range of interesting and original ideas on the origin of culture in early humans." - Dr. Liora Kolska Horwitz, Head of Research, Negev Rock Art Center and The National Natural History Collections, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Safra Campus, Jerusalem, Israel

"Steiner begins with an exhaustive review of the literature on human cultural evolution and proceeds to lay out a paradigm for the study where the tenets of dual inheritance theory are viewed through non-synchronous temporal changes toward modernity in three distinct areas: Anatomical Modernity. The first area is anatomical where modernity is identified as a biologically, respectively, culturally-conditioned transition moving from robust to gracile with globular braincase development as its main signature and outcome." READ MORE... - Bonnye Matthews, Author of The Winds of Change, Alaska. Published in Midwest Book Reviews-October 2017

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My Patients Were Mummies

“Dr. Michael Zimmerman has written a fascinating account of his globe-trotting adventures in the field of paleopathology – the study of mummies and other ancient human remains and what they can teach us about modern-day human diseases. As he explains the process of unwrapping and analyzing mummies found everywhere from the deserts of Egypt to the frozen tundra of Alaska, this renowned pathologist and archaeologist proves himself a true Indiana Jones of the medical profession.” - Philip Shenon, former Washington correspondent for The New York Times for more than twenty years, bestselling author of The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation

"This autobiographical book chronicles the career of one of the world’s most respected mummy experts, but it is more than that. It is a mini-history of paleopathology, the study of disease in the ancient world. Dr. Zimmerman is doubly qualified for this task, he is a pathologist, specifically trained to detect disease, but also a physical anthropologist, qualified to examine skeletal material of the long dead and see what can be read from the bones." READ MORE... - Bob Brier, Senior Research Fellow, Long Island University, NY, USA

"Michael Zimmerman’s book consists of a series of essays recounting his research experiences with mummies. The book is not written for an academic audience; there are no in- text citations and the bibliography is limited. The book is generally a memoir, both in writing style and the presence of personal anecdotes. Given its construction, it appears intended for both general audiences and as a supplemental text for bioanthropology, paleopathology, or mummy studies courses." READ MORE... - Ken Nystrom, Department of Anthropology, State University of New York, New Paltz, USA. Published in the International Journal of Paleopathology

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Essays in Political Anthropology: Reviewing the Essence of Capitalism

“Essays in Political Anthropology: Reviewing the Essence of Capitalism is a valuable book that inscribes in the fields of emotions, where the dichotomies of fear/terror/risk captivate scholars as the signs of our times. Essays in Political Anthropology… as a very attractive way of understanding political anthropology leaves the reader in a position to understand the role of fear as an emotion prevalent on the planet. Likewise, it allows capturing the restructuring potential of terror as a feature of consumer societies as a tool of power. With this book, Korstanje shows how the radicalization of risk in fear/terror "made the body" allows us to understand how “…the risk is dead, long live the risk”. Definitely: a must-read book.” - Adrian Scribano CONICET-UBA //CIES

"Kostanje’s latest book brings anthropology’s comparative cultural perspective to contemporary global politics. This approach offers a fresh analysis of the chaotic violence which has characterized the first decades of the twenty-first century. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the present circumstances of world politics." - Geoffrey Skoll, Emeritus Professor at SUNY Buffalo, USA

“How should government leaders and corporate investors make the hardest decisions like whether to risk helping sick people or hostages in another country? This is not actually a moral decision – the easy answer of yes is not what is at stake anymore in the era of global terrorism. If it were, that would be a psychology study. To better understand the relevant global decision-making factors that leaders must learn about the social-cultural philosophy and behavioral impacts. Groups make decisions differently as compared to individuals. When actions in one country can be discovered so quickly using today’s technology, leaders of businesses and government must go back to political anthropology school to learn about the underlying theories and how the philosophical factors can be integrated into contemporary decision-making models. Likewise, researchers and professors must also go back to political anthropology school so they can update the body of knowledge and revise what is taught to students. This is where Max Korstanje’s book comes into play as he explains the domain of knowledge and impacts about political anthropology in the modern global terrorism era. It is valuable and relevant.” - Kenneth David Strang, Associate Professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, US (Founder/Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Risk and Contingency Management IGI Global USA)

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Origins and Evolution of Plants on the Earth and the Descendants of ANITA

“The concepts in the book have been described so precisely especially in regard with angiosperms. The readers will surely enjoy reading the evolution of life on earth over the 4 billion years. His intellectual ideas while writing the book will definitely leave an impact on readers.” - Dr. Miss Preeti V. Phate,HOD & Assistant Professor, Department of Botany, J.S.M. College, Alibag, Indi

“Evolutionary biology may still be the complicated alley for many but in Origin and Evolution of Plants on the Earth and the descendants of ANITA the concept has been simplified with regard to Angiosperms. The book walks the readers through the pathway of a series of events resulting in evolution in different branches of life on earth over the last 4 billion years. The theory explains the green planet from the pre-existing “Dark Planet” to “Blue Planet” while touching areas like spatiotemporal changes, aqua life as well as organic and inorganic evolution. While the mystery of evolution has stirred all from the shape of a flower to sliding continents, the writer explains in elaboration his standpoint with relevance. This non-fictional piece of work changes perspective to life and leaves the readers with curiosity to wonder more. Dr Subir Ranjan Kundu has discussed multifaceted aspects of evolutionary characteric vis a vis physical process of earth and surrounding atmospheric condition at different span of earth history. I congratulate him for his effort to put forward compressive discussion on very complicated but important strategies of evolutionary features of plants and animals. The book will be useful to students, teachers and scientific colleagues of different universities, colleges, scientific institutes and other organizations.” - Prof. A. K. Srivastava, F.Pb.S., F.P.S., F. N. R.S., M.N.A.Sc, Former Scientist-G, Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow & Former Professor and Head, Department of Biosciences, Integral University, Lucknow

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