The Ache, whose life history the authors recounts, are a small indigenous population of hunters and gatherers living in the neotropical rainforest of eastern Paraguay. This is part exemplary ethnography of the Ache and in larger part uses this population to make a signal contribution to human evolutionary ecology.
In the years since this book was first published, the problems that the human species has faced have become more serious. As predicted, world population has rapidly increased, and with it starvation, malnutrition, and disease. Our precious environment is being devastated. In particular, the tropical rain forests, our richest resource, are being cut and burned at an alarming rate with the accompanying degradation of the forest soils. Their flora and fauna, including their human inhabitants, are being destroyed. All this is being done for short-term financial gain without any long-term planning or understanding of the risks involved.
There are no simple and humane short-term solutions to the central problem of increasing population pressure. In the long-term, the only hope of making possible a life of quality for all, rather than a life of starvation and squalor, is through education. It is essential that we understand the limits that exist to the earth's productivity and the overriding importance of maintaining richly diversified fauna and flora. If we understand how we arrived at this life-threatening situation, the resolution will become clear. Non-violent and viable solutions do exist and can be implemented, but the human race first must understand and face up to the nature of its frightening predicament.