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REVIEW: Making Contact.


The aim of this book is to present the reader with an overview of a number of instances when two cultures have come together, made contact and coexisted with each other. The four editors have selected nine different works from nine different authors that each outline how two separate cultures have interacted after first contact had been made.

This book is very informative and the editors have selected nine pieces of work that clearly demonstrate how different cultures can get along or, in some cases, not get along. Each of the different essays also point out how one culture has been affected by another and vice versa. For example, we are told of Japan's efforts to model itself on the world powers of Britain, France, Prussia, the US and Russia when the country emerged from its self-inflicted seclusion in 1854.

Another fascinating aspect of this book is that the writers always include passages on how both cultures viewed each other. This lets the reader see just how much the differences between two races, colours or even beliefs could be exaggerated and accentuated by both first-hand accounts and their subsequent retelling. For example, when white European explorers encountered native African tribesmen they described them as cowardly of heart and short of stature as they assumed the constant sun would dry out their humours (essential bodily fluids).

This book is an interesting read and also informs the reader of how the human race has evolved and changed throughout time due to the introduction of a hitherto unknown race or group of people. In my opinion, the variety helps to make this book more readable and interesting as if there is a particular author or topic that you are not fond of then you know there will be another subject written by someone different in just a few pages.

CONCLUSION: I have not seen this subject broached in many books that are available on the bookshelves now. Because of this, anyone who thinks that they would find this topic interesting should consider purchasing a copy. I certainly enjoyed reading this book and feel that I have learnt a great deal from it.

Title: Making Contact - Maps, Identity and TravelAuthor: Glenn Burger / Lesley B. Cormack / Jonathan Hart / Natalia Pylypiuk (Editors)Published by: University of Alberta PressISBN: 0-88864-377-2Price: CAD34.95Reviewer: Ian Sanderson
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Sanderson, Ian
Publication:M2 Best Books
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 21, 2003
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