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“Savaging Primitives”

“Diamond adds his voice to a very influential sector of American academia which is, naively or not, striving to bring back out-­of-­date caricatures of tribal peoples. These erudite and polymath academics claim scientific proof for their damaging theories and political views (as did respected eugenicists once). In my own, humbler, opinion, and experience, this is both completely wrong—both factually and morally—and extremely dangerous. The principal cause of the destruction of tribal peoples is the imposition of nation states. This does not save them; it kills them.”
—Stephen Corry, the director of Survival International, as part of what you might call a “sweeping denunciation” of Jared Diamond’s “The World Until Yesterday: What We Can Learn From Traditional Societies” (Indiebound | Amazon). Barbara King has problems with it too, but asks her fellow anthropologists why they aren’t, as a group, writing BETTER books which aim for the same general audience as Diamond does.


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