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Editors' Picks Volume 57 Number 2, March/April 2004

The Genealogy of Greek Mythology

The Genealogy of Greek Mythology (New York: Gotham Books, 2003) looks like an AAA guidebook, but that's not bad, because it claims to be "an illustrated family tree of Greek myth from the first gods to the founders of Rome." The format is unconventional, a slipcase holding a long, accordion-folded book. Flip it over and you switch from gods and goddesses to legendary mortals. Author Vanessa James, who teaches Greek and Roman theater at Mount Holyoke College, came up with the idea when staging a play based on Bulfinch's Mythology. At $25 is it a good deal? The guide's compact form means some ambiguities are left unresolved: Is the goat-footed god Pan the son of Zeus or of Hermes? And the family tree lists offspring in a random order. It isn't encyclopedic, but as a well-illustrated, fast reference for who's who, it does the job.
[More Greece & Rome books...]

Ishi's Brain

In 1911, the "last Stone Age Indian" wandered out of the hills of northern California and became a national sensation. Anthropologist Alfred Kroeber brought Ishi, as he became known, to San Francisco, where he was put up at a museum and employed to demonstrate traditional crafts. Upon his death five years later, Ishi's body was autopsied against his express wishes. Anthropologist Orin Starn's fascinating Ishi's Brain: In Search of the Last "Wild" Indian (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004; $25.95), tells the story of the recent effort to repatriate Ishi's remains, especially his brain, which was stored in the Smithsonian for decades. Starn was directly involved in the campaign to rebury Ishi and gives a compelling first-person account of one of American anthropology's strangest, saddest chapters.
[More Canada & the U.S. books...]

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© 2004 by the Archaeological Institute of America