“In The Old Way, Thomas has produced a magnificent elegy to a way of life that has only recently passed us by . . . She sprinkles her text with lessons on evolution, sociology, biology, and history. Whether describing the grass half-dome shelters the Bushmen lived in, analyzing their concept of land ownership or custom of gift giving, or recounting the care taken when living among dangerous wildlife, Thomas’ style manages to be understated and vivid all at once. Her book provides us with a cultural artifact of the rarest kind: a firsthand account of a way of life usually only guessed at by experts poring over bones and fossils found in the dirt.”—Austin Merrill, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution“As she displayed in her bestseller, The Hidden Life of Dogs, Thomas has a rare gift for giving voice to the voices we don’t usually listen to, and helps us see the path that we have taken in our human journey . . . The Old Way is a rare and remarkable achievement, sure to stir up controversy, and worthy of celebration.”—Science Daily“Throughout the book Thomas evocatively imagines the ancient lives based on what she witnessed during the twilight of one of the last hunter-gatherer societies . . . The Old Way reveals how an indigenous people and an American family were able to transcend their tremendous cultural divide and find common ground.”—The Explores Journal"In 1950, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas' father, the retired president of Raytheon, together with his wife, a former English teacher, and their two teenage children went out to live among some of the last people in the world still living as nomadic hunter-gatherers. It would be a coming of age like no other, with stunning and unforeseen rewards for the field of Anthropology. Her mother, Lorne Marshall, would write The !Kung of Nyae Nyae, one of the great ethnographies of all time; her brother John made a series of films culminating (just before he died) in the epic Kalahari Family, chronicling the fate of the !Kung through early contacts and discovery of their remarkable way of life, to their tragic displacement from the lands that had sustained them for so many thousands of year. Elizabeth herself, an extraordinarily gifted writer went on to write a number of best-selling books. Now, half a century later, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas returns to those early experiences and re-examines what she learned from the people, places, animals and lifeways encountered in the Kalahari long ago. The result is a brilliantly conceived, wise and hauntingly vivid, portrait of the natural and social worlds inhabited by people living much as our earliest human ancestors must have. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas’ finest book to date, The Old Way, is a deeply felt, deeply observed masterpiece that transforms the way we look at our own world."—Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, author of Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants and Natural Selection "This is the owner's manual we need for humankind. The Old Way gives us critical insight into our past at a turning point in human history by one of the few people who has seen our kind living as we have lived for most of our species' existence. This will be one of the most important books of the millennium."—Sy Montgomery, author of The Snake Scientist and The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is the author of seven books, nonfiction and fiction—among them The Hidden Life of Dogs, The Harmless People, and Reindeer Moon. She has written for The New Yorker, National Geographic, and The Atlantic, and lives in New Hampshire.