Synopses & Reviews
The Forest People
-- Colin M. Turnbull's best-selling, classic work -- describes the author's experiences while living with the BaMbuti Pygmies, not as a clinical observer, but as their friend learning their customs and sharing their daily life.
Turnbull conveys the lives and feelings of the BaMbuti whose existence centers on their intense love for their forest world, which, in return for their affection and trust, provides their every need. We witness their hunting parties and nomadic camps; their love affairs and ancient ceremonies -- the molimo, in which they praise the forest as provider, protector, and deity; the elima, in which the young girls come of age; and the nkumbi circumcision rites, in which the villagers of the surrounding non-Pygmy tribes attempt to impose their culture on the Pygmies, whose forest home they dare not enter.
The Forest People eloquently shows us a people who have found in the forest something that makes their life more than just living -- a life that, with all its hardships and problems and tragedies, is a wonderful thing of happiness and joy.
Margaret Mead Adds an entirely new dimension to literature on primitive people. The book is constructed with great dexterity, so that the reader is carried along by the charm and movement of the narrative, almost unaware of the underpinning of arduous scientific field work that lies like bedrock below....The reader feels sheer delight in an entirely new world.
From the Foreword by Harry L. Shapiro Department of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History The book is exceptional....The reader can enter into...the exhilaration of participating in a culture other than his own....Reading The Forest People is an unusual and satisfying experience.
The bestselling, classic text on one anthropologist’s incredible experience living among the African Mbuti Pygmies, and what he learned from their culture, customs, and love of life.
In this bestselling book, Colin Turnbull, a British cultural anthropologist, details the incredible Mbuti pygmy people and their love of the forest, and each other. Turnbull lived among the Mbuti people for three years as an observer, not a researcher, so he offers a charming and intimate firsthand account of the people and their culture, and especially the individuals and their personalities. The Forest People is a timeless work of academic and humanitarian significance, sure to delight readers as they take a trip into a foreign culture and learn to appreciate the joys of life through the eyes of the Mbuti people.
About the Author
Colin M. Turnbull
was born in London, and now lives in Connecticut. He was educated at Westminster School and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he studied philosophy and politics. After serving in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during World War II, he held a research grant for two years in the Department of Indian Religion and Philosophy at Banaras Hindu University, in India, and then returned to Oxford, where he studied anthropology, specializing in the African field.
He has made five extended field trips to Africa, the last of which was spent mainly in the Republic of Zaïre. From these trips he drew the material for his first book, The Forest People, an account of the three years he spent with the Pygmies of Zaïre.
Mr. Turnbull was a Professor of Anthropology at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is a Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and a Corresponding Member of Le Musée Royal d'Afrique Centrale.
Table of Contents
1 The World of the Forest
2 The Good Death of Balekimito
3 The Making of Camp Lelo
4 The Song of the Forest
5 The Crime of Cephu, the Bad Hunter
6 The Giver of the Law
7 The Play World of the BaMbuti
8 Molimo: the Dance of Death
9 The World of the Village
10 Elima: the Dance of Life
11 The Marriage of Kenge
12 Village Initiation and Magic
13 Forest Horizons
14 The World Beyond
15 The Dream World
A Note on Pronunciation
Maps follow page
Illustrations follow page