Gods of the Upper Air

By Charles King,

Book cover of Gods of the Upper Air: How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century

Book description

2020 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award Winner
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

From an award-winning historian comes a dazzling history of the birth of cultural anthropology and the adventurous scientists who pioneered it—a sweeping chronicle of discovery and the fascinating origin story of our multicultural world.

A century ago,…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Gods of the Upper Air as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Margaret Mead belonged to a rambunctious generation of anthropologists who were trained by Franz Boas at Columbia. His star students were unconventional women—Mead, Ruth Benedict, Ella Deloria, and Zora Neal Hurston—who asked different questions and told different stories than any scholars before them. Were gender and race merely cultural constructions, and what would it take to overhaul them? How did Native Americans and Black Americans understand themselves, without the distortion of the white gaze? Could humans learn to live with their differences, or would the fascists win?

King unpacks the human drama in which these scholars participated on both the…

From Elesha's list on Margaret Mead and her life.

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