Demonic Males (Paperback)

Apes and the Origins of Human Violence

By Dale Peterson, Richard Wrangham

Mariner Books, 9780395877432, 368pp.

Publication Date: November 14, 1997

List Price: 16.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Whatever their virtues, men are more violent than women. Why do men kill, rape, and wage war, and what can we do about it? Demonic Males offers startling new answers to these questions. Drawing on the latest discoveries about human evolution and about our closest living relatives, the great apes, the book unfolds a compelling argument that the secrets of a peaceful society may well be, first, a sharing of power between males and females, and second, a high level and variety of sexual activity, both homosexual and heterosexual. Dramatic, vivid, and sometimes shocking, but firmly grounded in meticulous scientific research, Demonic Males will stir controversy and debate. It will be required reading for anyone concerned about the spiral of violence undermining human society.

Praise For Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence

"The heroes of this fascinating account of primate behavior and evolution are bonobos, members of a species closely related to both humans and chimpanzees but distinguished by its comparatively nonviolent and relatively egalitarian social structure. Wrangham and Peterson look to studies of bonobo social organization and behavior for insight into social mechanisms to control human violence. The influence of sociobiology is evident at every step in the authors' argument, acquainting readers with their response to the so-called "nature-nurture" controversy (which the authors dub "Galton's error"). The book is an accessible, gripping, sometimes surprising account of the depth and extent of violent behavior among primates as well as a provocative discussion of its origins and possible remedies." Booklist, ALA

"Powerful and moving . . . as absorbing as it is sobering. It desrves a wide audence." Kirkus Reviews

"Startling, beautifully written, riveting, provocative" Publishers Weekly