Origins and History of the Passions of War
By Barbara Ehrenreich
(Holt Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780805057874, 304pp.)
Publication Date: May 1998
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An ALA Notable Book
A New York Times Notable Book
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.
Barbara Ehrenreich is the bestselling author of Nickel and Dimed, Bait and Switch, Bright-sided, This Land Is Their Land, and Dancing in the Streets, among others. A frequent contributor to Harper's and The Nation, she has also been a columnist at The New York Times and Time magazine. She is the winner of the L.A. Times Book Prize for Current Interest and ALA Notable Books for Nonfiction. Ehrenreich was born in Butte, Montana, when it was still a bustling mining town. She studied physics at Reed College, and earned a Ph.D. in cell biology from Rockefeller University. Rather than going into laboratory work, she got involved in activism, and soon devoted herself to writing her innovative journalism. She lives and works in Florida.
"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."-Newsweek