Highwater outlines a brief social history of sex in the West in order to illustrate his thesis that a society's mythology derives largely from its view of the human body and sexuality. Beginning with the earliest peoples (for whom the body and all nature were essentially female), he traces the rise of patriarchy, with its glorification of male sexuality; and goes on to explain how, among Christians, the body became the locus of original sin. Later on, the Romantics produced a still different view of sex as (ultimately doomed) pleasure, which was superceded by the Enlightenment notion of the body (and the universe) as machine. Particularly compelling is his discussion of capitalism's belief in the body as a product from which profits can be made. Anthropologist Highwater (author of 20 books) relies heavily on the work of Joseph Campbell and Elaine Pagels; however, this synthesis would have benefited from a few footnotes. Nevertheless, it is beautifully written, provocative, and highly recommended.-- Beverly Miller, Boise State Univ. Lib., Id.