Human sickness and health. A biocultural view. By Corinne S. Wood. Palo Alto California Mayfield publishing company. 1979. XVIII + 376 pp. figures tables glossary bibliography index. $17код для вставкиСкачать
BOOK REVIEWS describe methods for estimating gene frequencies, testing segregation ratios, correcting for ascertainment biases, calculating relative risks and heritabilities for threshold traits, diagnosing zygosity, estimating heritabilities from twin data, analyzing quantitative traits using path coefficients, calculating conditional probabilities, and computing lod scores for linkage studies. For a book of this size and scope, there appear to be relatively few typographical errors and misstatements. The initial discussion of the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (page 102) contains several misleading sentences. Contrary to the author's statement, it is not necessarily true that populations with genotype frequencies in Hardy- Weinberg proportions are, therefore, in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, since equilibrium requires that these proportions be maintained from genera- 235 tion to generation. It is also not generally the case that the frequency of consanguinity in a population can be calculated from deviations from Hardy-Weinberg proportions. In finite populations, the consanguineous matings that occur by chance produce no departure from Hardy-Weinberg expectations. Fortunately, errors of this sort appear to be rare and they do not detract greatly from the overall high quality of the volume. The book provides fascinating reading for anyone interested in human genetics and should serve as a useful resource for geneticists and anthropologists who need upto-date information on areas of human genetics outside their own specialties. JEAN W. MACCLUEH Southwest Foundation for Research and Education Sun Antonio, Texas - Generally, basic and detailed biology has H U M ASN I C K N E S S A N D HEALTH. A B I O C U L ~ U R A L VIEW. By Corinne S . Wood. Palo Alto, been minimized, while ethnographic examples California: Mayfield Publishing Company. showing the importance of culture in disease 376 pp., figures, tables, have been expanded. The biology that is pres1979. xviii glossary, bibliography, index. $ 1 7 . 4 5 ent requires at least an introductory background. In a book that stresses the importance (paper). of culture in disease, the use of examples that This book has two complementary goals. are traditionally thought to be biologically The first and paramount one is to provide in- determined would make a stronger case for the formation not ordinarily presented in medical main argument. For example, although Wood anthropology texts by stressing the primary does give a brief description of the immune importance of culture in the patterns and response among higher primates, there is no prevalence of human health and disease. The mention of the general adaptation syndrome second, and as the author admits, more dif- and the cognitive perception of threat and ficult goal is to influence health agencies not subsequent stress produced via hormonal only to understand the critical role of culture, responses. The latter would have provided a but to utilize a cross cultural approach that logical example of the importance of using takes into account a population's ongoing cultural means to combat many types of acute adaptation to diverse environments when im- and chronic disease afflicting both developed and third World countries. The relationships plementing appropriate health care. At first it is difficult to see why the author between socioeconomic and ecological factors feels this book is any different, because most and disease epidemiology are well documented medical anthropology texts do apply a biocul- but in need of much further study that necessit u r d approach and cover the majority of topics tates the cooperation between biomedicine and discussed here. There are eight chapters: The the social sciences. The need to fill gaps in the literature and the Medical History in the Fossil Record; A Common Shared Legacy; Nutrition, Anthropology emphasis on culture does not excuse glaring and Human Health; Women and Reproduc- omissions in subject matter. There should tion: Biocultural Enigmas; The New World- A have been some discussion of demography, Different Perspective; The Syphilis Controver- energetics, and growth and development. sy; Malaria and the Human Factor; and The Unless the student already has an adequate Traditional Healer: Holistic in Response to biological background, or will be stimulated to acquire one, this text might offer interesting Stress of Disease. + 236 BOOK REVIEWS but overly simplistic solutions to problems arising from complex, interwoven factors between biology and behavior. An introductory chapter on evolutionary biology and theory would have helped add cohesion and clarity to topics otherwise seemingly chosen at random. A textbook should ideally do more than inform. I t should teach the student how to think critically. As is done here, and in too many textbooks, stating alternative hypotheses without examining their historical contexts appears to most students as merely more information. In addition, the references for many of the topics are out of date and not complete. Although the foregoing are drawbacks, this is a worthwhile book for several reasons. The author does not specifically state in the preface or introduction what topics are not usually covered in medical anthropology texts. However, in “Women and Reproduction: Biocultural Enigmas” she gets down to business. She correctly states that although this aspect of human biology and behavior is critical to our evolution and adaptation, it receives relatively no attention. This is due no doubt to the dominance of male perspectives. This chapter is unique and a valuable contribution. Other chapters, such as the ones on malaria and syphilis, while adding nothing new, are laconic, informative, and thus good synopses. Because of the voluminous material available on these subjects, some instructors might want to add references and reading material to cover particular areas. The chapter, “The New World- a Different Perspective,” is at least partly innovative. Wood’s treatment of early Amerindian migrations across Beringia and the screening out of many Eurasian diseases resulting in lowered or absent resistance to infection from later European‘ migrations is strictly status quo. However, there is a welcome section on African slavery and colonization. Although her figures are conservative, the number of Africans killed over a three hundred year period of slavery, and her suggestions as to why they, and not Amerindians, were used, is sure to stimulate discussion and illustrate the value of an anthropological approach to interpreting human history. In sum, the author does achieve her first goal. Unfortunately, as she herself admits, the second goal is far more difficult. Her premise, as most anthropologists would agree, is valid. The abatement of existing hunger and disease throughout the world lies in the reorganization of social and economic priorities rather than in a strictly biomedical and technological “fix.” Whichever of these approaches is used, a cross cultural implementation is necessary in order for them to be effective. However, if the author is serious about the second goal, she and all of us must also focus to a far greater degree on political perspectives. This is ironic in a text stressing the importance of culture in human health and disease. GEORGE A R T H U R CLARK Uniuersity of Massachusetts Amherst. Massachusetts - BOOKS RECEIVED Anderson, D (1981)Eastern Iowa Prehistory. Cook, ND (1980)Stability and Flexibility. A n Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press. 90 Analysis of Natural Systems. Oxford: pp. $10.95 (cloth). Pergamon Press. 246 pp. $18.25 (cloth). Barlow, GW and Silverberg, J (eds) (1980) Graham, CE (ed) (1981)Reproductive Biology of the Great Apes. New York: Academic Sociobiology: B e y o n d Nature/Nurture. Press. 437 pp. $48.50 (cloth). Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press. 627 pp. $32.50 (cloth),$15.00 (paper). Hrdy, SB (1981) The Woman That Neuer Evolved. Cambridge: Harvard University Brody, EB (1981) Sex, Contraception and Press. 256 pp. $17.50 (cloth). M o t h e r h o o d i n Jamaica. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 278 pp. $20.00 Kirk, RL (1981) Aboriginal Man Adaptilzg. New York: Oxford University Press. 229 pp. (cloth). $59.00 (cloth).