Daily Archives: October 30, 2017

** Affluence Without Abundance by James Suzman

Written by an anthropologist, Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen tells the story of the people of the Kalahari, which many of us will think we know from a single movie, The Gods Must be Crazy, but of course the reality is infinitely more nuanced (although we do meet the star of the movie in this account). The book is surprisingly meandering and unstructured, which grated on me somewhat, but does a magnificent job of presenting real people and the essential quality of a culture so unlike the Western one: where life is lived day by day with no fretting or preparing for the future, and the idea of appearing superior to others is just impossible. The past and present exploitation of the Bushmen is clearly told, but the focus is on how they are making the transition to a new, still not completely defined way of life.

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Filed under Non fiction