Roger's Reviews > Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon

Darkness in El Dorado by Patrick Tierney
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's review
Mar 15, 12

bookshelves: primates-anthropology
Read in January, 2012

A withering critique of the excesses of anthropology. Tierney spent ten years writing this book about the effects of ethnographic and journalistic interest in the Yanomami peoples of Venezuela. His acid criticism is aimed principally at Napoleon Chagnon, one of the most famous anthropologists of all time, and describes his hubris, arrogance, and bald lack of concern for his subjects of study in the most unflattering possible light. Also coming in for a detailed and exhaustively documented flaying are French anthopologist Jacques Lizot, several BBC and National Geographic film crews, and several playboy Venezuelan naturalists and politicians. The gist: Althought the Yanomamo are known in the literature as the "Fierce People", this title is more a function of the sociobiological ideology of the ethnographer than of any empirically greater rate of violence. This is science at its worst. A brilliant book, totally readable, enraging.
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