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Muensterberger, W. (1954). Primitive Heritage. An Anthropological Anthology: Edited by Margaret Mead and Nicolas Calas. New York: Random House, 1953. 592 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 23:288-289.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:288-289

Primitive Heritage. An Anthropological Anthology: Edited by Margaret Mead and Nicolas Calas. New York: Random House, 1953. 592 pp.

Review by:
Warner Muensterberger

Primitive Heritage is a popular exposition of anthropological field reports and theories. The editors present one hundred eleven short excerpts from nearly as many authors, including some pages from Freud's Totem and Taboo and Róheim's Psychoanalysis of Primitive Cultural Types. Calas, who views 'the world as a stage', has divided the material into sixteen chapters, directing the attention of the audience to a variety of scenes, 'The Mythical Past', 'Marriage', 'Ceremony and Economics', thus examining the ways of life of both ancient people, as described by Herodotus, and of contemporary natives.

This method of presentation has a certain bewildering fascination, but frequently leaves the reader with the feeling that many of the 'scenes' with which the compilers astound him are too short and abrupt. It reminds one of a 'get-together dance' without getting the chance to spend sufficient time with the girl one likes. But one feels tempted to call her up the following day. Or, in this case, to go to the library and read the entire field report instead of half a chapter.

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