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 "Outstanding Work On African Tribe Is Republished",
a review by Carroll Quigley in The Washington Sunday Star, January 6, 1963,
of a book:
THE LIFE OF A SOUTH AFRICAN TRIBE,
by Henri A. Junod.
New York: University Books, 1962

 

"Outstanding Work On African Tribe Is Republished"

 

THE LIFE OF A SOUTH AFRICAN TRIBE.
By Henri A. Junod.
2 volumes, boxed. University Books; $20.

 

   This extraordinary book, first published in 1914 and revised in 1926, is now republished as one of the most valuable of the recent flood of works on Africa.

   The author, a Swiss missionary who had lived among the Thonga of southeast Africa since 1889, sought to record the social and mental life of this single tribe before it was destroyed by European influence. He succeeded admirably because he had an unusual combination of talents such as have rarely been focused on any native people.

   With a broad background in linguistics, science, and anthropology, fluent in their language, and moved by personal affection toward them, he was determined to record their life completely honestly, however shocking some of it was to his own moral and religious beliefs. Where he could not bring himself to write the details in English, he put them into Latin (translated in this edition).

   The result is one of the most valuable studies we have of a single African people before their culture was modified by European influence. Nor is it merely descriptive. Junod did research in old documents and linguistic and ethnological materials in a thoroughly up-to-date way. He found Portuguese records of the tribe in the same area in the 16th century, used native words for most objects or customs not familiar to Europeans, providing genealogies and kinship terms in this way, and sought to evaluate their mental life and abilities from linguistic analysis.


-- Carroll Quigley

 

 


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