"Are you eager to get beyond nature versus nurture controversies? Elisa Sobo’s approach to the study of human diversity is a gracefully written and creative application of the unifying notion of epigenetic complexity. This introductory text is a readable and gripping account of how observable traits of human behavior (phenotypes) are the product of interactions of numerous sorts, between genes and their own biochemical products and between biochemical systems, environmental signals, historical realities and mental experiences. She successfully avoids the Scylla of direct trait to gene(s) reductionism and the Charybdis of a tabula rasa view of the origins of cultural differences. Highly recommended!"
- Richard A. Shweder, University of Chicago
"This book is a brilliant contribution to a resurgence of interest in a comprehensive, holistic approach to human variation. Sobo examines the interaction of biology and culture in the context of a broad systems perspective on human communities. With examples ranging from the evolution of our species to how we shape our bodies in response to cultural ideals, she offers a refreshing view of us as biological entities suspended in sociocultural systems, showing the reciprocal influence of these inseparable dimensions of human existence."
- --Bill Dressler, University of Alabama
"Being and becoming human is biocultural, and very few books drive that point home as well as this one. With a friendly and engaging narrative Sobo guides the reader though a meaningful, and anthropological, engagement with humanity. This book should be used as a core text for both introductory anthropology and biocultural courses.
- Agustín Fuentes, University of Notre Dame
"I am delighted to see an introductory text that finally takes seriously the biocultural idea that we are creatures of both biology and culture, moving beyond the tired old nature-nurture dichotomy. Sobo deftly weaves together concepts and examples that students can relate to. She skillfully tackles critical contemporary topics such as globalization, sustainability, and inequality, health, and social change. By incorporating into their lives some of the anthropological ways of thinking that form the core of this much-needed book, readers will help to leave the world a better place than the one they inherited from their parents."
- Wenda Trevathan, New Mexico State University and author of Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives: How Evolution Has Shaped Women’s Health
"Sobo's remarkable textbook is also a benchmark for the field. The material is deftly presented, immensely accessible, innovative in scope, and poised to advance biocultural approaches in deeply compelling and generative new directions."
- Justin Nolan, University of Arkansas