Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle Paperback – Nov 3 2009
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"Absorbing. . . . Shares its author's best traits: perseverance, insight, humor and humility. Both the Pirahas and their interpreter make splendid company."--The Plain Dealer
"Immensely interesting and deeply moving. . . . One of the best books I have read."—Lucy Dodwell, New Scientist
"In this fascinating and candid account of life with the Pirahã, Everett describes how he learned to speak fluent Pirahã (pausing occasionally to club the snakes that harassed him in his Amazonian "office"). He also explains his discoveries about the language-findings that have kicked off more than one academic brouhaha."--Publishers Weekly, Signature Review
"Rich account of fieldwork among a tribe of hunter-gatherers in Brazil . . . introduce[s] non-specialists to the fascinating ongoing debate about the origin of languages. . . . Everett's experiences and findings fairly explode from these pages and will reverberate in the minds of readers."--Kirkus, starred review
"Dan Everett has written an excellent book. First, it is a very powerful autobiographical account of his stay with the Pirahã in the jungles of the Amazon basin. Second, it is a brilliant piece of ethnographical description of life among the Pirahã. And third, and perhaps most important in the long run, his data and his conclusions about the language of the Pirahã run dead counter to the prevailing orthodoxy in linguistics. If he is right, he will permanently change our conception of human language."
–John Searle, Slusser Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley
"Dan Everett is the most interesting man I have ever met. This story about his life among the Pirahãs is a fascinating read. His observations and claims about the culture and language of the Pirahãs are astounding. Whether or not all of his hypotheses turn out to be correct, Everett has forced many researchers to reevaluate basic assumptions about the relationship among culture, language and cognition. I strongly recommend the book."
–Edward Gibson, Professor of Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
About the Author
Daniel L. Everett is the Chair of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Illinois State University.
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Top Customer Reviews
I can't recommend this book highly enough!
My only criticism and complaint (hence the 4 stars) is because I was primarily interested in his deconversion as a result of the Piraha's outlook and lifestyle, and the turmoil that resulted... and the struggles and questions he wrestled with... and the price he paid... BUT THAT WASN'T THERE! AAAHH! I mean, yes, he mentions it... and summarizes it in the last chapter... but with far too little detail.
I hope he writes a second book - and makes it all about that. I will definitely buy it.
This book definitely left me wanting more... and if I hadn't been so looking forward to more information about his deconversion, I would definitely have given it 5 stars. Excellent book. Will recommend.
This book is about the Pirahas, a life lived like no other live life, and a study of their language through culture. We learn about them, we learn about ourselves.
It is rich and detailed. It is easy to read, even the part about the language per se. Every now and then, I found myself thinking: "Those are real people, and this is how they see life, this is how they live life! For real!" The way their language is built is also fascinating.
While reading, I was also wondering on whether someone can really adapt completely to a change of life, to a change of culture. What makes us alike, what makes us different. Can we change our mind on the importance we've given to certain things, certain values, certain ways? This book, without trying to, goes beyond the "simple" telling of who, how and why the Pirahas are. It tells of humanity.
Most recent customer reviews
I found out I perhaps am not as fascinated by language as I previously thought. Either that or this discussion of language didn't do it for me. A bit over my head, perhaps. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Never Youmind
Everett brings his personal experience int an accessible story about strangeness and discovery of self in such strangeness.Published 18 months ago by Sardis Siren
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