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December 08, 1985

Twice in her review of Jean Auel's "The Mammoth Hunters" Judy Bass (Book Review, Nov. 24) refers to the principal characters as Neanderthals! How she came to such an egregious misreading is beyond understanding, for one of Auel's major points throughout her series is that Jondalar and the Mamutoi are people just like us: Homo sapiens. And like us, they are afflicted with racial prejudice, theirs directed against the Neanderthals ("those filthy flatheads"). With such a perversely confused view, it is no wonder that Bass was disturbed by what she perceived as "glaring incongruities" in the story.

When an editor assigns someone to review a number-one best seller that is rooted in paleohistory and anthropology, would it not be wise for him to select a critic who is knowledgeable in those areas?

C. J. WRIGHT

Venice

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