- I agree those Oxford 'Very Short Introduction" series are quite good. I have both the' Very Short Introduction to Archaeology' and the 'Very Short Introduction to Prehistory' on my bookshelf. The preface to the archaeology book describes the objective as "...intended to whet the appetitle by presenting some rudiments of the subject of archaeology in the hope that the reader may be stimulated to delve more deeply into its rich literature, to carry out some research or fieldwork, or, in the case of students, decide to take it up as a university course."
I only have the archaeology and prehistory books, but I know there are at least 100, including those on Social and Cultural Anthropology, Evolution, History, Marx, Darwin, Linguistics. They also have one on drugs. I'm still waiting for one on beer.
Another interesting little book series is the 'Bluffer's Guides.' Paul Bahn, who wrote the 'Very Short Intro to Archaeology' wrote the 'Bluffer's Guide to Archaeology'. It is really funny.
Another decent little (and relatively inexpensive) book for someone contemplating anthropology is 'Thinking Anthropologically: A Practical Guide for Students', edited by Salzman and Rice (Pearson Prentice-Hall). I reviewed it in 'Teaching Anthropology: SACC Notes' a few years ago.
Interestingly, another listserve I subscribe to on historic archaeology is having a similar thread about book
recommendations for students right now. But that's all archaeology.