From Publishers Weekly
Why has misogyny been so entrenched throughout history? McElvaine, chair of history at Millsaps College, traces it to the invention of agriculture. The cultivation of crops, he says, devalued males' social role as hunters and, at the same time, gave rise to the "conception misconception," which held that males alone possessed reproductive power while females were merely empty ground in which men sowed their seed. McElvaine argues that from this essential error arose hierarchies, dualistic thinking, competition, war, slavery, racism, individualism, consumerism and, of course, sexism. This thesis is provocative but sometimes oversimplified. McElvaine (The Depression and the New Deal, etc.) is forceful in his reading of creation myths and Western religions, as well as in his discussion of male competitiveness through dominating tactics and imagery (including "mounting" a subordinate male symbolically through languageDwhich is what "fuck you" really means). But many of his secondary themes, including the meaning of the American frontier, racism, war and rape, and the compulsive sexual behavior of powerful men like JFK, need further analysis. For a book that purports to be "biohistory," this studyDwhich takes pains to avoid any hint of biological determinism in its argumentDtends to dismiss biological theories a little too easily. But these flaws don't detract significantly from the daring of McElvaine's challenging overview. Written with passion, wit and insight, this accessible book throws down the gauntlet to academics and nonspecialists alike, daring a radical rethinking of the basic "truths" on which cultures have been constructed. Agent, David Hendin.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Eve's Seed is a bestseller waiting to be discovered: a package of sex, science and species' vanity nicely wrapped in sparkling prose." -The Los Angeles Times