The Harmless People

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 1989 - Social Science - 303 pages
An anthropologist's account of the life of the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert by the author of THE SECRET LIFE OF DOGS.

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: The Harmless People

User Review  - Rebecca - Goodreads

I initially had to read this for an Anthropology class, but I read it again for pleasure a few years later. Still think it's great! It details the lives and beliefs of different Bushman tribes and I ... Read full review


ONE The Desert
TWO The Road
FOUR The Fire
SEVEN Mood Songs
EIGHT The Dancers
ELEVEN Toma the Leader
TWELVE The Grove
THIRTEEN Short Kwi the Hunter
FOURTEEN The Sun Dance
The Bushmen in 1989

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1989)

Between 1950 and 1956 Elizabeth Marshall Thomas accompanied three expeditions to visit the Bushmen hunter-gatherers of Southwest Africa (now Namibia) and Bechuanaland (now Botswana). At that time the Bushmen were the last significant population who still lived by hunting and gathering, the economy practiced by all human beings and the ancestors of human beings for millions of years. Few firsthand accounts of hunter-gatherer life were written before her book The Harmless People, and because, since its publication, most Bushmen have been evicted from their old homes or forced to change their traditional ways, it remains one of only a few accounts of the old way of life. Thomas, who has spent the last 20 years studying animal behavior, makes her home in New Hampshire. Her other writing includes a nonfiction book about Dodoth pastoralists in northern Uganda, Warrior Herdsmen, and a novel about prehistoric hunter-gatherers in the Northern Hemisphere, Reindeer Moon.

Bibliographic information