Margaret Mead

The century's foremost woman anthropologist, Margaret Mead was an American icon. On dozens of field trips to study the ways of primitive societies, she found evidence to support her strong belief that cultural conditioning, not genetics, molded human behavior. That theme was struck most forcefully in Mead's 1928 classic, Coming of Age in Samoa. It described an idyllic pre-industrial society, free of sexual restraint and devoid of violence, guilt and anger. Her portrait of free-loving primitives shocked contemporaries and inspired generations of college students--especially during the 1960s sexual revolution. But it may have been too good to be true. While few...

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