Savages and Civilization

by Jack Weatherford

My “Race & Minority Relations” class doesn’t really use a textbook. Instead, we read books by Real People. This particular book was more like something I’d expect to see in a history class, although it did fit fairly well into the course structure. The problem was not so much that the book was dull or too complex but that the way my teacher approached it was   B     O     R     I    N     G.

Each chapter starts with an episode, or a specific event that forms the background for the chapter’s subject matter. In his chapter on how colonialism treated native peoples, Weatherford began by describing the British prison in Port Arthur, Tasmania. These episodes were all fairly interesting, but I feel like I would have gotten more out of them if I hadn’t had to listen to my teacher explaining and re-explaining them over and over again until I could repeat them in my sleep. We are College Students, not Semi-Blind Very Illiterate Small Persons. (There’s a good acronym to remember. SBVISP.)

If you find this subject enjoyable, by all means, pick up a copy. I was lucky enough to buy a used one from the BYU bookstore where a series of SBVISP had written down notes about everything the teacher said, so I knew most of the answers before he even started asking questions.


One Comment on “Savages and Civilization”

  1. Bethany says:


Be opinionated! We certainly are.

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