on June 17, 2002
Covering the subject of Paleoanthropology is never easy, at best. This is especially so when one has a competitor of the quality of Richard Klein's "The Human Career". However, Professor Wolpoff has brilliantly succeeded at carving his own niche, with Klein's book focusing more on archaeology and his more on skeletal analyses. I would recommend students purchase both textbooks to obtain the best overall picture. Paleoanthropology is separated into four parts, with a total of 14 chapters ranging from descriptions of the process of evolution, to the distinguishing anatomical features of the Anthropoidea and the hominins, and to the late Pleistocene. A comprehensive glossary is given at the end of the book which proves invaluable. A general collection of references is found at the end of the book and more specific references can be found after each chapter. It is not a book for newcomers who should introduce themselves to the subject through a more general summary; rather it is for the dedicated amateur and scholars to utilise at graduate level and as a professional reference work. I am an archaeologist and would recommend it for anyone who is seriously interested in paleoanthropology and archaeology.
on June 11, 2002
This book is not meant to be "eye candy" (although in many ways it is). It is a serious reference book with no hooks. Just the facts ...and tons OF 'em. If it is boring to any student, it is because he/she has no love of the subject or has a personal grudge of some sort. I am especially grateful for all the detailed descriptions of fossils (especially pertaining to the skull). Professor Wolpoff is a no-nonsense scientist who knows and loves his subject thoroughly! It is sad that politics have so thoroughly invaded the field of paleoanthropology. It's immature effects are plain to see in this series of reviews. Prof. Wolpoff is THE leader of one side of an important issue and critiscism is inevitable. It is also regrettable but I add this voice to thank him for his good and dedicated work.