Farb was born July 25, 1929, in New York, NY to Solomon and Cecelia Farb. In 1950, he graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University. He attended Columbia University graduate school from 1950 to 1951. He married museum director and painter Oriole Horch in 1953 and together had two sons, Mark Daniel and Thomas Forest.
His son Dr. Daniel Farb, a physicist and entrepreneur, heavily influenced by his father's environmentalism, decided to address himself to the problem of carbon pollution. Today, he invents and develops wind turbines based on his proprietary patents that accelerate wind. One of his turbines the Wind Tulip?, is beautifully designed and, can produce more energy from low speeds than any other wind turbine in its category. Dr. Farb's company is called Leviathan Energy www.leviathanenergyinc.com.
Peter Farb was a freelance writer in the areas of the natural and human sciences for many years, authoring many acclaimed books, including several books for young readers, and columns in national magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens, and Reader’s Digest. President John F. Kennedy's Secretary of the Interior, Stuart L. Udall described him as a "... young man with a consuming interest in the land and living things ... one of the finest conservation spokesmen of our period."
He possessed a penetrating knowledge of North America and was critical of the White Man's treatment and intentional eradication of Native Americans in his 1968 lamenting anthropological study and book, Man's Rise to Civilization... In it, he notes the debt of the White Man from his acculturation or "indianization," comparable in some ways to the Roman acculturation in conquering the Greeks, benefiting from thousands of years of cultural development (to include many dominant agricultural products and medicines) that took place on the American continent prior to his arrival.
He was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Anthropological Association, the Society for American Archeology, and the Anthropological Society of Washington, D.C.
Farb died from leukemia, April 8, 1980, Boston MA. At the time of death, he had been working with Irven DeVore on a new book, The Human Experience: A Textbook of Anthropology.
He came up with a paradox: "Intensification of production to feed an increased population leads to a still greater increase in population."
1959: The Story of Butterflies and Other Insects (children's book)
1961: The Story of Dams (children's book)
1962: The Story of Life: Plants and Animals Through the Ages
1962, 1977 (2nd Ed.): The Insects (Series: LIFE Nature Library)
1963, 1979 (Revised Ed.): Ecology (Series: LIFE Nature Library)
1964: The Face of North America (Young Reader’s Edition)
1964, 1978 (2nd Ed.): The Land and Wildlife of North America (Series: LIFE Nature Library)
1964: Face of America: The Natural History of a Continent (selected for the Book of the Month Club and President John F. Kennedy's International White House Library, whereby President Kennedy presented it to the heads of a hundred foreign governments)
1966: The Atlantic Shore: Human and Natural History from Long Island to Labrador by Peter Farb and John Hay
1967: The Land, Wildlife, and Peoples of the Bible (children's book)
1968: Man’s Rise to Civilization As Shown by the Indians of North America from Primeval Times to the Coming of the Industrial State
1970: Yankee Doodle
1973: Word Play: What Happens when People Talk (selected for the Book of the Month Club) ISBN 0679734082.
1978 (2nd Ed.): Man’s Rise to Civilization: The Cultural Ascent of the Indians of North America
1978: The Forest (Series: LIFE Science Library)
1980: Consuming Passions - The Anthropology of Eating by Peter Farb & George J. Armelagos