Picture of author.

Napoleon A. Chagnon (1938–2019)

Autor(a) de Ya̦nomamö: The Fierce People

7+ Works 879 Membros 10 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Napoleon A. Chagnon is a distinguished research professor at the University of Missouri and adjunct research scientist at the University of Michigan. He lives in Columbia, MO.
Image credit: Chagnon being decorated by his early guide, Rerebawa, circa 1971. Credit Photograph from Napoleon Chignon.

Obras de Napoleon A. Chagnon

Associated Works

Primitive Worlds: People Lost in Time (1973) — Fotógrafo; Autor — 122 cópias
Soul: An Archaeology--Readings from Socrates to Ray Charles (1994) — Contribuinte — 101 cópias


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de nascimento
Port Austin, Michigan, USA
Local de falecimento
Traverse City, Michigan, USA
University of Michigan (BA|1961; MA|1963; PhD|1966)



A textbook written by an anthropologist who lived among the Yanomamo peoples off and on for decades. It has become controversial because of his views, and because he advocated protecting the people from the missionaries, government and gold miners. It was engaging in some parts when telling to the people, how they survived and their customs. Other parts were skimmable for a person like myself who has only a general and mild interest.
MrsLee | outras 3 resenhas | Apr 21, 2024 |
This is definitely a guy with an axe to grind, but that just adds more spice to the story. Who'd a figured it was all about sex? Chagnon was in a unique place at just the right time.
BBrookes | outras 5 resenhas | Dec 5, 2023 |
This is more a memoir than an anthropological study, documenting Chagnon's studies of Yanomamo culture over a span of 30 years. Chagnon is extremely bitter: he is on a mission to out his detractors as politically correct / Marxist / non-scientific activists. But he need not take this approach, because many laypeople will enjoy learning about Yanomamo culture more than about academic disputes.

His enemies are split into a few camps. Many just don't like Chagnon as a person. They focus on his supposed ill-treatment of the Yanomamo; his selfishness, such as getting tribesmen to build him a larger hut or rewarding children for shooting rats for his comfort; and his meddling trade of machetes for information. The more nuanced criticism is Chagnon extrapolates backwards in time without much historical evidence. Jared Diamond, in contrast, paints a broad picture using a wide range of scientific evidence outside of immediate observation.

The crux of this work is the correlation between violence and offspring: well-known killers are more likely to take more wives and father more children. I'm not sure why this is so absurd a proposition. The idea seems to annoy Christian missionaries and activists alike. We see such correlations frequently in the animal kingdom, and such assertions about non-humans are readily accepted. But cultural anthropology has split into a scientific approach (sociobiology) and a postmodernist one which holds there are no objective truths.

It seems plausible to me that competition for females has important evolutionary consequence alongside competition for materials such as land and food. Chagnon terms these facets reproductive and somatic resources respectively. Traditionally, only somatic resources are considered relevant. That said, Chagnon is probably going too far in the way he characterises competition for material resources as insignificant among the Yanomamo. Nor does correlation imply causation: the underlying cause may be bigger, stronger, healthier men have more children and also tend to fare well in battle. After years of fighting for credibility, balancing arguments cannot be further from Chagnon's mind.

The last few chapters descend into a long-winded political defence with little interesting content. Recommend you skip or skim these to maintain your sanity.
… (mais)
jigarpatel | outras 5 resenhas | Jan 14, 2020 |
Note that this is apparently a reprint of a book from the 1960s. The author has since been discredited. I studied this for an anthropology class.
Karin7 | outras 3 resenhas | Jan 20, 2016 |

You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Also by
½ 3.7

Tabelas & Gráficos