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Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life by…

Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life (1961)

by Ivan T. Sanderson

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It's Ivan T. Sanderson, writing about the Abominable Snowman: what more need be said, really?

This is probably the seminal book on the topic of anthropoid cryptids, still. He covers the whole world, with evidence of all kinds, and intriguing theories that never get in the way of asking the questions. And there are some tid-bits in this book that still remain entirely uninvestigated: why the "little red men of the trees" still gets no Google hints is beyond me.

While his prose is far from deathless, his lively storytelling skill is undeniable; while I could wish he'd put more of the scientist and less of the reporter into the book, it is fairly solid reporting. Both the most interesting and worst bit of this book is its age: some books are simply so tied to the time when they were written that it's impossible to see them as other than dated. The good thing about this is that it came out just as the world began to be seen as fully explored, when rugged men who wandered into an unknown forest for days with just a gun and a canteen were still alive and corresponded; just as cryptozoology was beginning to be what it is today, and before Bigfoot had become a pop-cultural phenomenon; so the evidence he presents here is almost all of it up-close and personal, and (compared to much modern Bigfoot research, at least) untainted by the romance of what has become a modern myth.

On the other hand, much of the modern evidence is simply not there yet, even with edits to bring the book up to date to 1968, and so it's only the beginning of the story. And it's quite inescapable that his attitude toward race is still very much that of the early 20th century explorer, secure in the knowledge that white people aren't *like* other people; it's not as horrid as it could be, and very much in tune with the time in which he wrote - he generally finds the "natives" superior to the whites, in a noble-savage sort of way - but it's inescapable, and makes him much harder to respect: particularly in a book that's meant explore the meaning of the category of "human".

This book is now freely available online at sacred-texts.org . ( )
  melannen | Oct 14, 2009 |
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Abominable Snowmen - strange, weird half-men, half-beasts who have roamed the face of five continents since the beginning of time. Are the myth - or are they astounding, unbelievable fact? Ivan T. Sanderson, famed explorer and naturalist, draws the truth about these amazing phenomena from out of the shadows of legend. The result is a definitively researched, utterly fascinating report on the astonishing "other men" who have haunted mankind from prehistory to tomorrow....
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