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Paperback The Past in Perspective : An Introduction to Human Prehistory Book

ISBN: 0199950733

ISBN13: 9780199950737

The Past in Perspective : An Introduction to Human Prehistory

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Book Overview

Ideal for introduction to archaeology and world prehistory courses, The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory, Sixth Edition, is an engaging and up-to-date chronological overview of human prehistory. Kenneth L. Feder introduces students to "the big picture" - the grand sweepof human evolutionary history - presenting the human past within the context of fundamental themes of cultural evolution. Written in a refreshingly accessible...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Great overview of human development

This was the text for an intro to archaeology course I ended up dropping. Since I'll be signing up for the course again next spring, I decided to read it anyway. Most of my archaeology background comes from books like Lekson's The Architecture of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico (Chaco Canyon Series), Cordell's Prehistory of the Southwest (New World Archaeological Record), and Reed's Chaco's Northern Prodigies: Salmon, Aztec, and the Ascendancy of the Middle San Juan Region after AD 1100 on Ancestral Puebloans (AKA Anasazi or Hisatsinom) in the Four Corners area. So it's good to get a more general background from Feder. Feder weaves recent research into his narrative, making his book as current as books get. He also discusses different methods of dating, and many other techniques that reveal prehistoric cultures. His descriptions of field research in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe make me want to do fieldwork even more, especially after exploring Chacoan Great Houses and Anasazi outliers. A faculty member in West Valley College's Park Management program recommended Renfrew's Archaeology: Theories, Methods and Practice (Fifth Edition) as a more complete text. I haven't read it so I don't know how it compares. Feder's Past in Perspective reads a bit more like a New York Times bestseller than a textbook. His out-of-print Lessons From the Past: An Introductory Reader in Archaeology reprints relatively recent articles about unusual archaeological applications in forensics, and in reconstruction of recent history, like combatant movements during the battle of the Little Bighorn. Both books will give you a general idea of what archaeology is about.

Review for Past in Perspective

Book was shipped almost immediately, and in better condition than described. Would buy from this seller again.

The past in Perspective

This book is a necessity for the student of Anthropology/Archeology, it has a very easy to read format and in depth articles that could only increase a student knowledge in these subjects.

Strong on Fossil Forms, Weak on Latter-Day Cultures

I have used this book for about three years in my archaeology class, discontinuously I must admit. It's good for those who want a strong biological perspective in humankind's cultural evolution, but it comes up short when it comes to regional civilizations. Treatment of the state-level societies in each region (e.g., Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Mesoamerica, Andean America) could be more detailed, and the book would be easier to follow if it used a sequence of culture model for each region from its Neolithic to florescence to decline. In treating fossil hominids and their material culture, from the earliest human and humanlike forms through the Lower Paleolithic to the Mesolithic traditions and their makers, however, this is a solid presentation.

Putting more than the past into perspective

Kenneth Fader's "The Past In Perspective" is a book designed for those who wish to learn the basics regarding the field of archaelology. Focusing on the cultural evolutions of mankind, Fader never lapses into the jargon so popularly found in some textbooks. This is a book designed to introduce over five million years of human evolution, so naturally it is best for those who are new to the topic. Although I used this book for my archeology class, it contains information that could interest anyone with a flair for history. All in all, it is easy of to follow and does its best to represent all sides of arguments that are presented, although at times it seems to stress a war between religous and evolutionary ideas that may, or may not exist as much as the author would like them to.
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