Suzman’s talent for evoking the region’s vast and haunting landscapes, his elegiac account of a passing covenant with nature, and his warm and compassionate character sketches of individual Ju’/hoansi, make this a fascinating and at times profoundly moving work of literary non-fiction.
Ed O' Loughlin- Irish Times October 14, 2017
[A] fascinating book. . . Part-ethnography, part-memoir, this is a poignant account of a culture on the brink of extinction.
"Suzman’s descriptive prose and affection for his subjects generate the reader’s genuine empathy…This fascinating glimpse into a disappearing way of life leads Suzman to reflect on our world today: a world where wealth and possessions are valued above all other pursuits. Suzman’s account of the lives of Bushmen, past and present, offers plenty of fuel for thought." -
“Affluence Without Abundance” is not simply a description of Bushman life. Mr Suzman deftly weaves his experiences and observations with lessons on human evolution, the history of human migration and the fate of African communities since the arrival of Europeans. The overarching aim of the book is more ambitious still: to challenge the reader’s ideas about both hunter-gatherer life and human nature.”
"To know what it is like to live as people lived for most of human history, you would have to find one of the places where traditional hunting-and-gathering practices are still alive…Fortunately for us, the anthropologist James Suzman did exactly that…The news here is that the lives of most of our progenitors were better than we think. We’re flattering ourselves by believing that their existence was so grim and that our modern, civilized one is, by comparison, so great."
“An insightful and well-written book, describing the hard transition of foraging communities in Namibia from relative affluence during the Stone Age to contemporary poverty and misery. Avoiding both modern conceits and romantic fantasies, Suzman chronicles how economics and politics have finally conquered some of the last outposts of hunter-gatherers, and how much humankind can still learn from the disappearing way of life of the most marginalized communities on earth.”
Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
A delightful book, full of perceptiveness and understanding. . . Suzman’s frequent reflexivity (e.g., “I never hunted with /I!ae. I was too clumsy, loud, and slow.”) makes the book far more interesting than typical accounts full of statistical detail, academic references, and the like.
-Prof Alan Barnard - Science Magazine- June 30 ,2017
“Affluence Without Abundance may be the best book ever written about the San (Bushmen) — a people who lived for 200,000 years as successful hunter-gatherers and are now transitioning to our more modern but less successful way of life. This book has truth on every page and is filled with important insights that range from hunting and tracking to how we think about time, money, value or success. (The analysis of tracking is the most comprehensive I’ve ever seen!) I’m breathless with admiration. Suzman gives readers information that we will never forget.”—Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Harmless People
-Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Author of The Harmless People and The Old Way: A story of the First People
This beautiful book- part memoire, part ethnography- offers a window into the lives of one of the most enduring of human cultures, the Khoisan hunters and gatherers of the Kalahari. If you have ever wondered how it might be to measure wealth not by material possessions, but by the strength of social relations between people, read this book.
-Prof Wade Davis , Samuel Johnson Prize winning Author of The Way finders and Into the Silence
James Suzman has spent his adult life studying the first peoples of southern Africa and it shows in this beautiful, heartfelt paean. Affluence without Abundance is learned without being condescending, tender yet unsentimental. It is both a celebration of an ancient way of life and a lament for all that has been lost in our own headlong pursuit of the material.
-Peter Godwin Author of Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa