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The Creation of Inequality

How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire

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PAPERBACK

$22.50 • £17.95 • €20.50

ISBN 9780674416772

Publication: October 2014

Academic Trade

648 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

30 halftones, 42 line illustrations

World

Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus have done a remarkable job in synthesizing the two key disciplines of social anthropology and archaeology, and their book represents a significant advance in our understanding of the evolution of complex societies.—Peter Turchin, The Times Literary Supplement

This is a work of profound importance… [It] yields insights into a multitude of societies in the recent and prehistoric past… Flannery and Marcus’s magnum opus… [This] is a deeply impressive achievement.—Steven Mithen, London Review of Books

Extraordinarily erudite… It would be an excellent addition to collections on the rise of civilization or on how to use the data gathered by cultural anthropologists and archaeologists to understand broad patterns of social change. Professionals in the field will also benefit from this tour de force by two of archaeology’s most provocative scholars.—L.L. Johnson, Choice

This provocative work, likely to become an important contribution to the literature of social and political anthropology, will be of interest both to scholars in the field and to anthropology and archaeology enthusiasts seeking understanding of the development and perpetuation of inequality in human societies.—Elizabeth Salt, Library Journal

By carefully articulating and integrating archaeological and ethnographic data, Flannery and Marcus present a panoramic view of the development of particular cultures in various parts of the world. Moreover, in selecting case studies the authors have gone beyond the familiar examples so often cited in anthropology textbooks. The Creation of Inequality promises to be a landmark work.—Robert L. Carneiro, Ph.D., Curator Emeritus and Professor Emeritus, Anthropology, Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History

The origin of inequality is one of the most basic questions about human societies. We all arose from egalitarian hunter/gatherer ancestors. Why, then, do almost all of us poor peasants now tolerate affluent leaders, whether they are democratically elected presidents or military dictators? In this clear, readable survey, the distinguished archaeologists Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus extract the answers by comparing the histories of societies over the whole world for the last 10,000 years. This book will become the standard account of long-term political evolution.—Jared Diamond, Professor of Geography at UCLA and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse

Flannery and Marcus are two of the most distinguished anthropological archaeologists in the world. The Creation of Inequality distills two lifetimes of work on the origin and evolution of complex societies throughout the ancient world. This work brings much of this together in an eminently readable and fascinating way.—Charles S. Stanish, Ph.D., Director, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, and Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles