Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The book, Cannibalism by Bill Schutt addresses the bewildering practice of cannibalism across the ages.


Cannibalism records date back to ancient times, and some anthropologists believe that cannibalism was widespread in human cultures even during the Paleolithic Period. Many indigenous groups have traditionally been interested in cannibalism, even though relatively few individuals are known to continue the tradition to this day.

Often hungry people have recourse to survival eating their kind as Schutt laments in his book, Cannibalism. During siege famines, classical ancient times reported various references to cannibalism. The Essex sinking in 1820, the Donner Group in 1846 and 1847, and Uruguayan air force flight 571 are more well-known examples. Some of the killers are known to have eaten their victims after they have been murdered, such as Albert Fish, Boone Helm, Andrei Chikatilo, and Jeffrey Dahmer. Some people, including artist Rick Gibson and reporter William Seabrook, legalize or call attention to the human flesh out of fascination.


Nobody is as worrying as Hannibal Lecter, in The Silence of Lambs, among all the villains on the screen. Not just does he kill people. He also consumes them, thus in violation of one of our oldest and most profound taboos: the last betrayal of our humanity is the eating of human food. Cannibalism: a perfectly natural history, but as zoologist and writer Bill Schutt reveals in his latest novel, not all cultures have shared the taboo. 

The book Cannibalism by Bill Schutt has laid down very specifically how the practice of cannibalism is carried out and how it has been provided with the tag of an unnatural “taboo”.

The act or practice of human cannibalism is the eating of other people’s flesh or internal organs. A cannibal is called a person who practices cannibalism. The meaning of “cannibalism” was spread into zoology, describing an individual of a species who eats, including sexual cannibalism, all or part of another person in the same species as food.

In the XVIIth century, Island Carib people in the Lesser Antilles, from whom derives the word “cannibalism” became a long-standing cannibal. The exactness of these legends and the prevalence of actual cannibalism in culture are controversial. In New Guinea and parts of the Solomon Islands cannibalism was practiced and there were flesh markets in part of Melanesia. The “Cannibal Isles” once called Fiji. In many parts of the world, including Fiji, the Amazon Basin, and Congo and the Māori of New Zealand, cannibalism has been well documented.


In a number of wars, in particular, in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, cannibalism has recently been practiced and ferociously denounced. In Papua New Guinea from 2012, it was still practiced in various Melanesian tribes for cultural, ritual and war reasons. Anthropologists are called upon “to define what is or is not beyond the pale of acceptable human behavior” by cannibalism in order to test the limitations of cultural relativism. Some scholars argued that there is no strong evidence to show, although it was consistently debated, that cannibalism was ever a socially accepted practice anywhere in the world at any time in history.

Did you find it interesting?

Don’t let your curiosity unattended, rather resort to the chapter-wise summary of the book Cannibalism, and many more facts about the practice of cannibalism in the west, and the east.