October 30, 2013

Eating humans

Dinner with a Cannibal: The Complete History of Mankind's Oldest Taboo
by Carole A. Travis-Henikoff

If you're expecting sordid stories of psychopathic serial killers, you're in for a disappointment. This is not that kind of book. Instead, it's a thoughtful treatise on human origins and how cannibalism forms a part of it. 

Travis-Henikoff begins with a look at the exotic foods we eat and the animal kingdom itself, which is rife with cannibalistic tendencies. She then examines cultural belief systems, outlining the various reasons for the consumption of humans: religion - as part of a religious rite, respect - ingestion of deceased relatives, revenge - consumption of enemies, medicinal -  for physical well-being, survival - as a last resort.

Her prose is lucid, well-researched, and non-judgmental. Readers with an extremely curious mindset will find it intelligent, repulsive, fascinating, and surprisingly enlightening.

Includes an extensive bibliography.

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