David Gross's Reviews > Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches: The Riddles of Culture

Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches by Marvin Harris
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's review
Jun 12, 07

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in January, 1999

Cows are inefficiently raised and devoured in the United States, while in India, people would rather go hungry than eat cow flesh. In the Jewish and Moslem tradition, pigs are unclean and cannot be consumed; while in others, gargantuan pig feasts are more holy than the Thanksgiving turkey. Is this just part of the inexplicable side of human nature, or are there understandable reasons for these cultural curiosities? Harris shows that these bizarre displays of cultural variety play an important and understandable role in the cultures’ environments.
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