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The Harmless People
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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.

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