Best Books on Anthropology You Must Read

best books on anthropology

When it comes to understanding humanity, no single source will give you all the answers. However, if you want a well-round perspective on who we are and where we came from, reading books on anthropology is a great place to start. We’ve compile a list of the best books on anthropology to help you learn more about human behavior and evolution.

So, without further ado, I’ve compile a list of the finest books on anthropology that you must read:

Our Caribbean by Bernard C. Theobalds.

In “In Our Caribbean,” historian Bernard C. Theobalds takes readers on a captivating journey through the history of the Caribbean Islands. Extolling the virtues, attractions, and character of the Caribbean peoples, Theobalds offers readers a front-row seat to the illuminating history of this island chain. With its rich prose and fascinating insights, Our Caribbean will surely engage and enlighten readers looking to learn more about this unique corner of the world.

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species

If you want to learn about the theory of evolution, then this is the book for you. Natural selection is the subject of Charles Darwin’s seminal work, On the Origin of Species. And how it can be use to explain the variety of life on Earth.

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

Another classic book on anthropology is The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. In this book, Dawkins explores the idea that genes are the driving force behind evolution and are “selfish” because they always try to propagate themselves.

The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin

Regarding people, Darwin’s theory of evolution is test in The Descent of Man and discusses its implications for our understanding of ourselves. This is a must-read for anybody with even a passing interest in anthropology.

The Origin of Races by Charles Darwin

In The Origin of Races, Darwin applies his theory of evolution to human beings and discusses its implications for our understanding of race. It’s an absolute necessity for everyone interested in anthropology.

Jared Diamond, “The Fate of Human Societies

: Guns, Germs, and Steel.’

In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond looks at the history of human societies and how the availability of natural resources has impact them. This is a fascinating book that will give you a new perspective on the development of civilization.

Sapiens: Yuval Noah Harari’s “A Brief History of Humanity”

From Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari tells the story of humankind from the perspective of evolutionary biology. This engaging and thought-provoking book is perfect for anyone interest in anthropology.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

From the perspective of evolutionary biology, Yuval Noah Harari looks at the future of humankind from the perspective of Homo Deus. This is a fascinating book that will give you a new perspective on the future of our species.

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

In Wherever You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn provides a practical guide to mindfulness meditation. Anyone interest in anthropology and studying human behavior can benefit from this book.

The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama

In The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama provides a practical guide to achieving happiness. This is a great book for anyone interest in anthropology and studying human behavior.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl tells the story of his experience as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. This powerful book will give you a new perspective on the human condition.


Anthropology is the study of human societies and cultures and their development. More than one topic is addressed in-depth, from the study of human origins to the study of contemporary social issues. A huge range of anthropology books is available, covering all aspects of the subject.

There are some different branches of anthropology, each with its focus. These include physical anthropology, which studies the human body and human evolution; cultural anthropology, which studies human societies and cultures; linguistic anthropology, which explores language and its development; and archaeological anthropology, which examines the material remains of past civilizations.

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Excerpts taken from the chapter on St Lucia

(pages 148 - 157)

There is dispute as to the origin of the name and discovery of St. Lucia, creating the opportunity for all kinds of speculation. Even Thomas Coke (in 1811) challenges the very discovery of the island, and in which particular voyage, by Columbus; and all available evidence suggests that Columbus never came close to the islands of the Southern Antilles (except for Trinidad). Even his courses through the islands, derived from his logs, show no approach to Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent or St. Lucia. It is known however, that our explorer touched by Martinique during his Fourth Voyage in 1502, coming in from the Atlantic through the Martinique Channel. It is also revealing there is no mention of Columbus’ reaction to the unique Pitons, though he was known to keep copious notes.

The island is heavily volcanic, dominated by a central mountain range traversing much of its length, north to south, punctuated with fertile valleys going down to the sea. A one-time English resident and writer, Henry Breen, wrote enthusiastically of St. Lucia in 1842, of its wild and romantic scenery, grand and picturesque, its somber forests and shallow rivers and other enchanting forms. These sentiments would still apply today

The French were probably the first colonists, in the seventeenth century, when France and England both rising naval powers, initiated their conquest of Spain’s Caribbean colonies. St. Lucia would become a major producer of sugar and other slave-grown crops. The French developed the island’s sulphur baths at the south-western town of Soufriere and left their mark to this day, with all the nation’s towns and villages (Castries, Gros Islet, Vieux Fort, Soufriere, Laborie) given French names, and a French patois being universally spoken. Roman Catholicism was, until recent times, the overwhelmingly dominant religion, in contrast with other British territories, like Barbados, where Anglicanism prevails. Castries the capital and main port, founded in 1650, is named after a French nobleman.

The Pitons and surrounding area were designated a World Heritage Site in 2004. The original natives called the island Hewanorra, “Land of Water” which name remains in use today for  the island’s international airport.
The island achieved independence in 1979 and is a member of the OECS grouping. Citizens refer to themselves, somewhat proudly as Looshuns, the word derived obviously from a   corruption of the name of their island. 

The island became known as The Helen of the West, apropos “Helen of Troy”, because it was, to the colonizing Europeans, militarily the most sought-after island in the Eastern Caribbean, simply in view of its location and large and naturally deep and sheltered harbours,  a rarity among the smaller islands in the region. It changed hands at least 14 times in violent conflict  between the English and the French, the most aggressive imperial powers after the decline of the Spanish.

The modern period has its own attractions too. The island has for many years, been the terminus of the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers), an annual race for yachtsmen originating in Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands during November, with arrival in St Lucia in time for Christmas celebrations. Then there is the internationally popular Jazz Festival held in May of every year attracting music aficionados from all over the world.

St Lucia may be heavily volcanic in origin, but it does have some beautiful golden-sand beaches, Sandals Resorts and the world famous and very exclusive Jade Mountain Resort, with its close-up and magnificent views of the Pitons.

Oprah Winfrey famously has said St Lucia and the Pitons … one of the five places to see in your lifetime.