Cannibalism A perfectly natural history

Bill Schutt

Sound recording - 2017

Today, the subject of humans consuming one another has been relegated to the realm of horror movies, fiction, and the occasional psychopath. But as climate change progresses and humans see more famine, disease, and overcrowding, biological and cultural constraints may well disappear. These are the very factors that lead to outbreaks of cannibalism.

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COMPACT DISC/394.9/Schutt
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Subjects
Published
[Minneapolis, MN] : HighBridge [2017]
Edition
Unabridged
Language
English
Physical Description
8 audio discs (9 hr.) : CD audio, digital ; 4 3/4 in
ISBN
9781681681962
168168196X
Main Author
Bill Schutt (author)
Other Authors
Tom Perkins (-)
  • Animal the cannibal
  • Go on, eat the kids
  • Sexual cannibalism or size matters
  • Quit crowding me
  • Bear down
  • Dinosaur cannibals?
  • File under: weird
  • Neanderthals and the guys in the other valley
  • Columbus, caribs and cannibalism
  • Bones of contention
  • Cannibalism and the Bible
  • The worst party ever
  • Eating people is bad
  • Eating people is good
  • Chia skulls and mummy powder
  • Placenta helper
  • Cannibalism in the Pacific Islands
  • Mad cows and Englishmen
  • Acceptable risk.
Review by Booklist Reviews

In this entertaining, fascinating, sometimes gruesome romp through cannibalism in science and history, zoologist Schutt steers clear of some of the most sensationalized stories and instead focuses on social, biological, and practical reasons for the practice across the natural world. Obviously comfortable with scientific texts, Perkins handles the many scientific names of animals with ease. His voice is well modulated and pleasant and his reading often deadpan, an approach that generally suits the dry humor that characterizes the author's voice. Listeners may find this tone a bit problematic in the first few chapters of the book, where the text tends to feel rather academic. Later, when discussion shifts to taboos and famous cases of criminal and survival cannibalism, Perkins' reading style becomes much more complementary. Though this may prove an uneven listen for the casual reader, fans of Mary Roach or Sam Kean may find a lot to like here. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Schutt (biology, LIU Post, NY; Dark Banquet) presents a serious examination of the practice of eating members of your own species both throughout history and throughout the animal kingdom. Striving for understanding and nuance, this work shies away from the sensationalistic and instead looks at the circumstances that drive this behavior. The Donner Party is heavily featured and used as a lens to view the many facets of cannibalism as it is understood as a biological and cultural process. Modern and historic news coverage of the 1846–47 expedition is used to demonstrate how sensationalism obscures the facts of the case. There is also an interesting discussion of the diseases passed on by cannibalism, such as mad cow. Tom Perkins is such a natural reader that one would think it was the author himself sharing the story of the woman who invited him to eat her placenta. VERDICT While perhaps not for the faint of heart, this is a reasoned view of something so often used for shock value. Highly recommended for those interested in zoology, virology, biology, anthropology, criminology, history, and nature. ["The writing is delightfully accessible, rarely boring, and utterly captivating": LJ 11/15/16 starred review of the Algonquin hc.]—Tristan Boyd, Austin, TX Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Cannibalism is more widespread than generally believed, argues zoologist Schutt in this thorough and oddly enticing study of the different ways species eat their own. Common practices among tadpoles, chimpanzees, sand tiger sharks, polar bears, and other animals are covered, but the book's most fascinating sections deal with instances of cannibalism in human history. Schutt identifies 50 different types of human cannibalism, including more common but less obvious practices like eating one's fingernails and placenta. Actor Perkins brings a breezy, confident style of reading to the audio edition. His pacing is just right for a text that is both informative and humorous, and he evinces no discomfort when reading the more explicit passages, making those parts of the book a whole lot easier to stomach. An Algonquin hardcover. (Feb.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Eating one's own kind is a completely natural behavior in thousands of species, including humans. Throughout history we have engaged in cannibalism for reasons related to famine, burial rites, and medicine. Cannibalism has also been used as a form of terrorism and as the ultimate expression of filial piety. With unexpected wit and a wealth of knowledge, Bill Schutt takes us on a tour of the field, exploring exciting new avenues of research and investigating questions like why so many fish eat their offspring and some amphibians consume their mother's skin; why sexual cannibalism is an evolutionary advantage for certain spiders; why, until the end of the eighteenth century, British royalty regularly ate human body parts; and how cannibalism might be linked to the extinction of Neanderthals.Today, the subject of humans consuming one another has been relegated to the realm of horror movies, fiction, and the occasional psychopath. But as climate change progresses and humans see more famine, disease, and overcrowding, biological and cultural constraints may well disappear. These are the very factors that lead to outbreaks of cannibalism-in other species and our own.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Bill Schutt, author of Dark Banquet: Blood and Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures, takes us on a tour of cannibalism research, exploring the factors that lead to outbreaks of cannibalism-in other species and our own.