Today, in his authoritative and unrivalled study, Maurice Godelier returns to Lévi-Strauss, the theoretician. Laying out his production in chronological order and examining it, Lévi-Strauss’ former assistant at the Collège de France, and acclaimed anthropologist in his own right, Maurice Godelier has less appreciation for his style than his contemporaries: “The formulas are superb, but they are literally meaningless.” At least the reader is forewarned. We are not here to chat. The book is divided in two parts: “Kinship” and “The myths”. It is the first time the entire corpus of Lévi-Strauss’ work has been presented in chronological order, by topic, and compared with recent research. Step by step, Godelier retraces sixty years of scholarship: we watch his thinking emerge and change, a laborer not content with a disorderly series of phenomena but who seeks the underlying rule, anonymous and silent – the rule of exchange, of marriage, of mind processes. In passing, Godelier clarifies the famous but misunderstood universality of the incest taboo and gives us access to little-known studies such as those concerning the notion of “house”. But more than producing an inventory, Godelier takes stock. Against a background of unfailing admiration, Godelier points out Lévi-Strauss’ deliberate omissions, his denial of the role of descent in the analysis of kinship systems, the absence of the political and religious domains in his understanding of the myths. But instead of eroding the monument, the criticism picks out its bone structure, reveals its formidable coherence and provides a better understanding of its singularity, of what makes this body of work seem such a stubborn undertaking, sometimes so sure of itself: the desire to make anthropology into a hard science that carries its reasoning through to its logical conclusions.