Revised to stimulate and engage an undergraduate student audience, Richard Feinberg's updated account of Anuta opens with a chapter on his varied experiences when he initially undertook fieldwork in this tiny, isolated Polynesian community in the Solomon Islands. He explores dominant cultural features, including language, kinship, marriage, politics, and religion topics that align with subject matter covered in introductory anthropology courses and he looks at some of the challenges Anutans face in the 21st century. Like many other peoples living on small, remote islands, Anutans strive to maintain traditional values while at the same time becoming involved in the world market economy. In all, Feinberg gives listeners magnificent material for studying the relations between demography, environment, culture, and society in this changing world.
The book is published by Kent State University Press.
I was given this book for free, and asked to provide a review in return. Unfortunately, I could not finish it. I tried listening, but the performance was a dealbreaker. It was extremely choppy, with the tone of voice going up and down in wrong parts of sentences which makes following the story extremely difficult. At times I thought that the text was read by a "text to speech" computer programme. All the words in native language are pronounced as if it's the first time the reader ever said them out loud. Even though the actual content of the book is interesting, I don't think the audio part is ready for audiences.
Is there anything you would change about this book?
I believe that the structure of the book was pretty much like a text book, which is why I felt that it covered uninteresting aspects of the life their in detail, while some of the parts I would have like to explore more, were briefly described. I would have enjoyed it more if it focused more on drawing comparisons between western lifestyles and the lifestyle of the Anutans.
What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?
It was a very interesting topic because we often do not get to learn about new cultures and new people, so I really appreciated this opportunity. The style of writing was easy and accessible and I often felt that the delivery of the narrator was on point when conveying feelings of surprise, shock and affection.
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
I often felt that the delivery of the narrator was on point when conveying feelings of surprise, shock and affection. I disliked that the narrator seemed to be pulling some words (saying them in slow motion) at certain intervals.
Do you think Anuta, Second Edition needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
It would be interesting to see how they have adapted to globalisation and the internet and all the benefits (and harms) of technology. Maybe a 2017 follow up would be interesting to draw conclusions about the effects of advancement in technology on a seemingly happy community.
Any additional comments?
I was given this free copy by Audiobook Boom in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
As a young anthropologist, Dr Feinberg conducts his first field work in the small, isolated Polynesian island of Anuta. He describes in detail the relationship networks, the lifestyle and world views of the nearly self sustaining islanders, as well as creating lifelong friends. He returns to the island a couple of decades later, documenting the changes caused by greater contact with other islands, the introduction of outside concepts and technology, as well as how the Anutans fare when living in other societies.
This book condenses a lifetime of scholarly work in an easily accessible manner for the lay reader. The only downside to the audio format are the somewhat complicated kin structures, which would have been easier to follow in writing (and preferably with pen and paper to sketch out the groups).
Unfortunately, the narrator didn't do this book justice. Too often, he drawled out words and sentences in a manner that I couldn't help interpreting as somewhat smug and self satisfied, in an odd contrast to the personality Dr Feinberg shows in his writing.
I received a copy from the author in return for this unbiased review.