Origins and History of the Passions of War
by Barbara Ehrenreich
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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 of sacred undertaking? Blood Rites takes us on an original journey from the elaborate human sacrifices of the ancient world to the carnage and holocaust of twentieth-century "total war." Sifting through the fragile records of prehistory, Ehrenreich discovers the wellspring of war in an unexpected place -- not in a "killer instinct" unique to the males of our species but in the blood rites early humans performed to reenact their terrifying experience of predation by stronger carnivores. Brilliant in conception, rich in scope, Blood Rites is a monumental work that will transform our understanding of the greatest single threat to human life.
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Reviews for Blood Rites
"Ehrenreich has outdone herself in breaking with conventional history, and the result is thrilling in that seeing-the-world-anew way."
--Susan Faludi, The Nation
"Splendid . . . A fascinating perspective on our staunch devotion to mass, mutual slaughter. Blood Rites is that rare animal, a nonfiction page-turner."
"One of today's most original thinkers has tackled one of humankind's most intractable subjects."
--The New York Times Book Review
"Illuminating . . . It is a large step from the all-male hunting band to the U.S. Marine Corps. Ehrenreich plots the path, nevertheless, both passionately and persuasively."
--John Keegan, The Washington Post
"The array of fascinating historical and anthropological detail presented here would make for a worthy read even if there were no persuasive argument to offer. But Ehrenreich's basic case is an enticing one."
-- L.S. Klepp, Entertainment Weekly