As recently as a year ago, the anthropologist David Graeber was well respected within his academic discipline but little-known outside of it. His sole brush with public notoriety had come in 2005, when Yale controversially refused to renew his teaching contract for reasons that Graeber and his supporters linked to his anarchist politics and outspoken activism. When his book Debt: The First 5,000 Years was released in July 2011, there was little to suggest that it had in any way captured the zeitgeist.


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