In Blood Rites, Barbara Ehrenreich confronts the mystery of the human attraction to violence: What draws our species to war and even makes us see it as a kind. Book review: Blood Rites by Barbara Ehrenreich. Jenny Bunker finds a re-issued book on the passions of war more pertinent than ever. Origins and History of the Passions of War by Barbara Ehrenreich. Reviews • Buy the Book. In Blood Rites, Barbara Ehrenreich confronts the.
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One which particularly struck me was that men are the fighters of our species not because of superior strength, but because they are essentially disposable.
I’m not sure I fully bought her argument — I’m skeptical of these evolution-meets-culture kinds of things, but it’s certainly worth considering, and I think a few chapter from it might work well in a class.
I read this mainly because the first half is related to a self-indulgent interest of mine, but the whole thing turned out to be smart and broadly relevant in ways I didn’t expect. No one could be totally peaceful unless completely cut-off from contact with war-like states which was hard to do unless you were an Eskimo or an Australian Bushman.
She borrows from Jack Goody the addendum to Marx that civilisation is shaped as much by the means of destruction as by those of production. I like how Ms. It is to war itself, and its metamorphoses in the historical period, that Ehrenreich turns in the second half of Blood Rites.
She parallels nations with the initial warrior elite, that war is ultimately necessary to maintain their status not only among other nations, but to justify their existence. The best opinions concentrated in the second part of the book. Nationalism, Ehrenreich claims, and its American variant, patriotism, are, in turn, throwbacks to a form of religion more typical in ancient times.
However, once created, War had a “life” of its own. You might cringe at the discussion about the democratization of war. Feb 26, Sara Gray rated it really liked it.
Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War by Barbara Ehrenreich
To ask other readers questions about Blood Ritesplease sign up. Ehrenreich tries to fill in a picture of the psychology of war. Perhaps we need to start to view pollution as a form of predation. May 21, Amanda Hosford rated it it was amazing. But int eh situation where everyone is expected to participate in one way or another, and where anyone can become a victim whether they participate or not, opposition could at least develop to the institution of war itself.
I saw another review that faulted it I think for not being more academic and reliable. Account Options Sign in. The author then claims that a major transition occurred in prehistoric societies when humans were able to move away from just being prey to also being predator, and it is this transition which until modern times is still commemorated, or reenacted in social initiation rights that still exist.
If anything, humanity and its civilisations look to be tools used by war rather than the converse.
One of the best herenreich books I’ve ever read. What draws our species to war and even makes us see it as a kind of sacred undertaking? Sep 22, Ash rated it really liked it. Origins and History of the Passions of War. Books by Barbara Ehrenreich. She doesn’t claim that war comes from aggressive hunter males in fact, she tries to thoroughly stomp that argument into the ground.
Richard Norman navigates the widely differing views bqrbara a recent humanist conference Read more. War, the author notes, appears to have a life of its own, shape-shifting but omnipresent. Perhaps I am spoiled, and want all my reading to be entertaining as well as informative eg, Omnivore’s Dilemma or Maps and Legends.
Ehrenreich’s answer delves back into prehistory: It’s hard to ehrejreich with any existing scholarly theories, but a feeling. As a result, in many societies, it became war that made men and men that made war. In the first part, it’s pretty much anthropological stuff. Ritrs is first, in an economic sense, a parasite on human cultures—draining them off the funds and resources, talent and personnel, that could be used to advance the cause of human life and culture.
Book review: Blood Rites by Barbara Ehrenreich
She then traces the entwined development of hunting, religion, war, and gender roles from that stage through the end of the 20th century.
Ehrenreich makes a strong argument for turning some of our conventional wisdom about the development of human societies upside down, most especially our somewhat grandiose belief that from the time our distant hominid ancestors climbed down from the trees and moved out onto the grasslands, we were the new apex predators on the block.
The urgency increases when the subject at hand, like war or disease, involves life and death, including the potential death of all people on earth. Feb 22, Robb Bridson rated it it was amazing. The ideas are thought provoking and while I think her argument may have a couple small leaks, for the most part it held water. Civilians increasingly become victims of wars in the twentieth century. Conclusions to books attacking huge issues can be disappointing since the issues seem to have much more clarity than the solutions.
We need to know, and we need to know something more than piles of unrelated observations. This book not only shed light on commonly placed myths about warfare of our ancestors, it gave me a new perspective on how we have come to fight our wars today.
No eBook available Macmillan Amazon. The role of women in the military is significantly different than it was when the book was published.
Ehrenreich is right about this. However, I do wish she had spent at least a chapter on the anti-war movement and its influences, because modern war has definitely been challenged by a different mentality that sees war as inherently brabara and unjustified.
Also, I like how she makes an analysis of how human sacrifice has evolved from deliberate killing of enemy captives to allowing our young people to become “sacrificed” by dying “for their country” in modern wars. Ehrenreich proposes several innovative theories about the origins of- and passions behind war.