A look at history in the making features modern cultures, including those of the Australian aborigines, Arctic survivors, and North American Indians, while speculating on the future of the human species on this planet and in outer space.
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These are the last two volumes of an impressive series (e.g., The First Humans, LJ 12/93; People of the Stone Age, LJ 2/1/94) that tells the history and development of humans through concise articles, amplified by extensive and stunning photographs and illustrations. The articles are written by appropriate experts. New World and Pacific Civilizations covers the Americas, Japan, and the Pacific Islands (Volume 3, Old World Civilizations, 1994, addressed the rest of Asia). The focus of this volume is on the emergence of civilization and cultural achievements in these areas, culminating with the impact of the first contact with Europeans. Traditional Peoples Today describes modern-day traditional societies and ponders the questions of the origins of races and the future of humankind. The authors explore the intertwined effects of biology, culture, language, and history on the development of modern human groups. After seeing all five volumes, one can make a general observation that the series is distinguished by its adherence to high production standards and scholarship. The only negative aspect is that the sheer numbers of illustrations can distract one from reading the accompanying text. However, these volumes are highly recommended for a nonacademic audience and should be acquired for undergraduate library collections.
Joyce L. Ogburn, Yale Univ. Lib.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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