Eve's Seed: Biology, the Sexes and the Course of History

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9780071400282: Eve's Seed: Biology, the Sexes and the Course of History

In this provocative reinterpretation of the human experience, Robert S. McElvaine has broken ranks with his fellow historians and answered the call made by E.O. Wilson in "Consilience", that humanistic scholars must begin to draw upon the natural sciences in order to fully understand the human condition. Bridging the gap between evolutionary biology and cultural history, McElvaine has created what he calls a "biohistory". He begins with the assertion, by no means accepted by most historians, that history must begin with an understanding of the evolutionary heritage we carried out of the Stone Age, and that the time before writing, usually dismissed by historians as "prehistory", saw the development of forces that have shaped the entire course of human history. Fundamental to the dynamic of history are the biological differences between the sexes and the psychological differences they have inevitably engendered. Unable to bear children, Neolithic men saw their traditional roles as hunters and protectors devalued with the invention of agriculture, and subsequently strove to subordinate women. McElvaine traces the repercussions of what he calls the Agricultural Mega-Revolution through the rise of the great classical civilizations, the birth of Christianity, the chivalry of the Middle Ages, the early modern era and the Mobility Mega-Revolution it brought, up through the volatile events of the 20th century. The result is a reinterpretation of our culture, full of neologisms and startling revelations.

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Review:

"Eve's Seed is a bestseller waiting to be discovered: a package of sex, science and species' vanity nicely wrapped in sparkling prose." -The Los Angeles Times

From the Back Cover:

"Eve's Seed is a bestseller waiting to be discovered: a package of sex, science and species' vanity nicely wrapped in sparkling prose." Joyce Appleby, UCLA, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Eve's Seed is a truly remarkable book, probably the most thought-provoking book I've read in years. . . . a marvelous book." Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

In a bold reinterpretation of history, Robert S. McElvaine contends that scholars have told only half the human story ignoring our evolutionary heritage, or "prehistory." With Eve's Seed, McElvaine offers unsettling insights into many of our most time-honored notions of ourselves and the "natural order," This book will compel everyone who reads it to view the world in a radically new light.

"I find the book Eve's Seed intriguing. It signals a significant paradigm shift." Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique

"This impressive book . . . will provide [an] invaluable source of inspiration . . . regarding the huge issue of male/female roles and their impact on us. It's about time someone put men in their proper place: on the bottom." George Carlin, Standup Comedian and author of Napalm and Silly Putty

"Written with passion, wit and insight, this accessible book throws down the gauntlet to academics and nonspecialists alike, daring a radical rethinking of the basic "truths" on which cultures have been constructed." Publishers Weekly, starred review

"This is a radical revision of traditional visions of human history . . . a real eye-opener! I must now rethink my understanding of the Neolithic 'revolution' with McElvaine's help." William H. McNeill, University of Chicago, author of The Rise of the West and Plagues and Peoples

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