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

Overview

"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, Los Angeles Times

In this provocative reinterpretation of the human experience, noted historian Robert S. McElvaine bridges the gap between evolutionary biology and history to create a new approach which he terms "biohistory." Here for the first time he presents a startlingly fresh thesis: misperceptions about sexual difference ...

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Overview

"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, Los Angeles Times

In this provocative reinterpretation of the human experience, noted historian Robert S. McElvaine bridges the gap between evolutionary biology and history to create a new approach which he terms "biohistory." Here for the first time he presents a startlingly fresh thesis: misperceptions about sexual difference and procreative power have, along with misleading sexual metaphors, been the major forces in history. In a bold departure from the methods of conventional history, Eve's Seed shows how the interplay between our evolutionary heritage and changing environments has shaped the course of history, from the days of hunter-gatherers to the contemporary world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071400282
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.72 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Prologue: A Man's World? 1
Chapter 1 90 Percent Nature: 90 Percent Nurture? Biology, Culture, and History 17
Chapter 2 The Way We Were (and Are) Human Nature 35
Chapter 3 Men Are from New York; Women Are from Philadelphia: Sex and the "Notawoman" Definition of Manhood 58
Chapter 4 Paradise Lost: Agriculture and the Genesis of "History" 82
Chapter 5 Hell Hath No Fury Like a Man Devalued: The Neolithic "Backlash" 106
Chapter 6 Going to Seed: The Metaphor that (Mis)shaped History 119
Chapter 7 "All Power and Glory Are Yours, Almighty Father" Male Monotheism and Its Consequences 135
Chapter 8 "No Mother Gave Me Birth" Women and Men in the First Millennium B.C.E. 151
Chapter 9 She Is Risen--And Fallen: The Sexes from Early Christianity Through the Middle Ages 184
Chapter 10 Human Liberation Is Women's Liberation: Women and Men in a Marketplace World 210
Chapter 11 No Woman Is an Island: "Feminine Values" in a Land of Self-Made Men 234
Chapter 12 "I Can't Be Satisfied" The Sexes and Twentieth-Century Consumerculture 250
Chapter 13 Verbal Mounting: Pseudosexing, the Notawoman Definition, and Obscenity 279
Chapter 14 "I Am Notawoman; Hear Me Roar" Male Insecurity, the Drive for Power, and War 296
Chapter 15 The "Masculine"/Marketplace Mystique: To Be a Woman or to Be Notawoman 322
Chapter 16 "I've Got to Be a Macho Man" The Bi-Polar Sex Disorder in the Last Half Century 342
Chapter 17 Fears of Our Fathers, Living Still: How Ancient Mistakes About Sex Continue to Affect Us 371
Endnotes 393
Index 443
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2002

    An End to the War of the Sexes?

    I think not, but what a wonderful read this book is! Strips away so many ingrained misconceptions held since childhood. For anyone remotely interested in humanity's future pick up this book and read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2001

    A New Historical Slant on Male vs Female

    'Eve's Seed', by Robert McElvaine is a fascinating slant on the male-female 'us vs. them' distortion. That distortion-- male always 'on top' -- still haunts male-female relations even today. McElvaine is a historian who frames the 'male-dominated' culture of the past 8 to 10 thousand years by defining what he calls the 'Conception Misconception'. That is, the notion put forward for thousands of years (and still accepted as gospel by millions of people even today) that the male 'seed' accounts for 100% of the 'life' of a child and that the female is simply the 'soil' in which the male seed is planted, then nurtured until birth. From that premise, McElvaine shows how males felt it was their right--even their duty--to claim ownership of and assert dominance over females, over their children, and even nature itself. It's worth reading if only to enjoy his definitions of what he calls 'notawoman', also known as the identity associated today with 'super macho'. Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in seeing a more cooperative, less competitive culture, especially as it pertains to the male-female 'power balance'. (Not recommended reading, therefore, for anyone who still thinks wives should 'obey' their husbands.) retired professor from Memphis

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2000

    A Major Revelation

    This work is profoundly transforming - especially for those curious about the universe and their place in it. Ever want to know about the origin of human values? Does it ever cross your mind that for more than 99% of human existence we've been in an environment drastically different from the one outside your window? Do you wonder whether this has any consequences for human interaction? Do you ever wonder why men and women seem so different in their emotional chemistry? Do you ever sit back and wonder who was right, the John-Locke/Margaret Mead-nurture-is-everything camp or the Edward Wilson/Richard Dawkins-nature-is-everything crowd? If you do, read this book. If you don't, read this book. Not only is it a work of major insight, but the author's prose and wordplay make it a joy to read. 5 stars all around.

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