4.5
Affluence without Abundance

Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen

Washington Post review:

“Meet and learn from the Ju/’hoansi of southern Africa, a dwindling group of hunter-gatherers who live much as all humans did until 12,000 years ago.”

Featured in Washington Post’s 50 Notable Non-Fiction Books of 2017.

NPR review:

“After spending 25 years studying one of the last hunter-gatherers on Earth, James Suzman has an incredibly unique perspective.”

Featured in NPR’s Book Concierge Great Reads of 2017.

Aggregated customer review rating:

4.5 out of 5.0

Ranked 64th in Books

Ranked 15th in History

Ranked 29th in Non-fiction

$ 20

A wildly riveting novel, Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen was noted by Washington Post as one of 50 notable works of nonfiction in 2017 and as the NPR best book of 2017.

The novel is a twenty-five year documentation of the life of the Bushmen of Southern Africa by anthropologists, James Suzman. It vibrantly portrays the civilization’s encounters with modernity. It is a seamless blend of anthropology, ethnology, political science, and economics, all facets that make up this simple yet complex society.

James Suzman has brought their struggles and their triumphs to life in his wonderfully vivid writing. The Bushmen are a proud and private people and it truly amazing that he has been able to gain their trust, so much so that he has been able to document their way of life for so many years. He tells the story of the collision of the modern global economy with their simpler, timeless way of life.

The “original affluent society”- the Bushmen of Southern Africa – has been immeasurably enduring and can be thought of the most successful culture in human history. The Bushmen have inhabited parts of southern Africa ever since the evolution of the human species nearly two hundred thousand years ago. The people hunt and gather to sustain their living and work to support every member of the tribe while existing harmoniously with their hostile desert environment. Their life and existence has significant implication on modern society just as their tribe has been affected by modern development.

The portray begs the asking of profound questions about what truly matters to every reader of the captivating piece such as wealth, equality, contentment and even concept of time. The Bushmen show amazing resilience to radical change and there has no more significant insight into their world since Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’s The Harmless People in 1959.

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