Upriver is as much a book about the ethnohistory of the Awajún, a people formerly known as Aguaruna, as it is a psychological perspective into how we all change over time both as societies and as individuals. In 1976, Michael F. Brown was a graduate student at the University of Michigan when he went to Amazonia in search of dissertation material. Beginning with romantic illusions of writing about magic and shamanism, he did not find warrior headshrinkers and sympathetic shamans willing to reveal their secrets. Instead, he found several groups of amiable Awajúns wearing Western clothes and attending missionary schools and Christian Sunday services. Though he earned a PhD in cultural anthropology with a dissertation titled “Magic and Meaning in the World of the Aguaruna Jívaro of Peru,” and continued his career in search of a broad range of related topics, culminating...

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