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September 1, 1978

Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin

JAMA. 1978;240(9):872. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290090066028

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The personal wit, curiosity, and other literary skills of Ashley Montagu are presented to the reader, while the almost incidental topic is skin. The author, a famous anthropological journalist, shows such great enthusiasm and imagination when he presents information that he can give importance to the most trivial data. He has a thoroughly developed and fascinating opinion on almost everything, especially on matters so complex that experts would not venture any conclusions or on recondite matters about which almost nothing is known. If this skill is accepted as a journalistic technique aimed mostly at entertainment but also at teaching about general social viewpoints and far-reaching hypotheses, then both author and reader can enjoy the book. Knowledge of actual sciences or burdensome tests of truth or evidence should not disturb the spell; good fun is intended.

Once the reader is in the proper spirit, he can learn whether men or women