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Includes bibliographical references (p. 567-614) and index.
pt. 1. Starting out equal -- Genesis and exodus -- Rousseau's "state of nature" -- Ancestors and enemies -- Why our ancestors had religion and the arts -- Inequality without agriculture -- pt. 2. Balancing prestige and equality -- Agriculture and achieved renown -- The ritual buildings of achievement-based societies -- The prehistory of the ritual house -- Prestige and equality in four Native American societies -- pt. 3. Societies that made inequality hereditary -- The rise and fall of hereditary inequality in farming societies -- Three sources of power in chiefly societies -- From ritual house to temple in the Americas -- Aristocracy without chiefs -- Temples and inequality in early Mesopotamia -- The chiefly societies in our backyard -- How to turn rank into stratification : tales of the South Pacific -- pt. 4. Inequality in kingdoms and empires -- How to create a kingdom -- Three of the New World's first-generation kingdoms -- The land of the scorpion king -- Black ox hides and golden stools -- The nursery of civilization -- Graft and imperialism -- How new empires learn from old -- pt. 5. Resisting inequality -- Inequality and natural law.