Readings in American Constitutional History, 1776-1876: Part 1

Houghton Mifflin
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Publisher
Houghton Mifflin
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Published on
Dec 31, 1912
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Pages
584
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Language
English
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The idea of a family level society, discussed and disputed by anthropologists for nearly half a century, assumes moving, breathing form in Families of the Forest. According to Allen Johnson’s deft ethnography, the Matsigenka people of southeastern Peru cannot be understood or appreciated except as a family level society; the family level of sociocultural integration is for them a lived reality. Under ordinary circumstances, the largest social units are individual households or small extended-family hamlets. In the absence of such "tribal" features as villages, territorial defense and warfare, local or regional leaders, and public ceremonials, these people put a premium on economic self-reliance, control of aggression within intimate family settings, and freedom to believe and act in their own perceived self-interest.

Johnson shows how the Matsigenka, whose home is the Amazon rainforest, are able to meet virtually all their material needs with the skills and labor available to the individual household. They try to raise their children to be independent and self-reliant, yet in control of their emotional, impulsive natures, so that they can get along in intimate, cooperative living groups. Their belief that self-centered impulsiveness is dangerous and self-control is fulfilling anchors their moral framework, which is expressed in abundant stories and myths. Although, as Johnson points out, such people are often described in negative terms as lacking in features of social and cultural complexity, he finds their small-community lifestyle efficient, rewarding, and very well adapted to their environment.
An “entertaining and enlightening” travel memoir that explores the differences between life in France and life in America (Booklist).
 
To make a friend is a joy. To make a friend in another country is a wonderment—a small miracle. Pardon My French follows an American couple as they embrace a daunting mission: not to be spectators in France, but to be absorbed by France.
 
Amid the minefields of linguistic faux pas, the perplexities of French gestures, the exquisite and often exotic cuisine, and the splendor of Christmas on the Mediterranean, we discover what it is like for an occasionally gruff American to be adopted into a new family. We follow the author as he pits his rather staid and conventional driving skills against the French speed demons of Languedoc. We step into his sneakers as he tests his basketball prowess against the young French bucks adorned with backward ball caps and Chicago Bulls game shorts. We watch as he frolics in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time with a French topless companion, sits in with a world-class French jazz band, and makes conversation with the beautiful nude model from his painting class in the studio atop the village police station.
 
This is not only a story of a journey to France, but an account of how France transformed one man’s life.
 
“As a reader who loved A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle and Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik I was greatly pleased to find that Pardon my French is just as delightful and in the same tradition . . . . Anyone who has traveled in France, or would like to someday, will find much to love about this book.” —Claire Bellarmine, author of An Adjustment in Consciousness
 
“He goes beyond merely noting his experiences to exploring the causes of cultural traditions . . . It is this openness and curiosity, along with the author’s infectious humor, that makes Pardon My French both entertaining and enlightening.” —Booklist
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