Faron’s Mapuche Indians of Chile is essentially a selective condensation of his two earlier major monographs on this important Chilean tribal society. Published in the Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology series, it is intended primarily as illustrative reading for college students. But it will also afford the general reader and the Latin Americanist both a sound overview of an interesting Indian culture and some understanding of modern anthropological theory and analysis. Further, even in condensed format, Faron’s work is a fine example of contemporary anthropological methods and standards of data reporting.
Although the topical outline of the book is inclusive and far reaching, it emphasizes Mapuche adjustments to the stresses of culture contact and assesses their place in current Chilean life. The systematic linkages between residential patterns, economic activities, marriage and courtship customs, domestic life, and the still functioning patrilineal descent groups are well presented. For this reader, however, the most interesting pages are those which dissect and rationalize the Mapuche world view, their conceptions of the gods and afterworld, and the role and behavior of shamans and sorcerers. Very highly recommended for Latin American survey courses in history and geography, as well as ethnology.