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The First Sex Mass Market Paperback – September 30, 1972


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books, Inc. (September 30, 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140035044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140035049
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jack Kirven on May 30, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
i can't help but notice which reviewers gave the book 1 star and which ones gave it 5... ;) whether it's been proven or disproven i have to say that the IDEAS are enthralling, and VERY well argued. i have to say in response to one of the reviewers that it's hard to swallow the assertion that free thinkers would be harmed in some way by this book: the work is, in and of itself, about the freedom of thought. as a college professor i am constantly reminding my students that history is written by the victors, and that anthropology is not the study of human development - look at the word - it's the study of the development of MAN. we all have our lenses, which refract our views of life experiences, and i think that this book is a testament to the notion that we really MUST reconsider what we think we know. that which is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt is often later found to err from reality. who knows what further investigations will yield? i, for one, was liberated by this book, and have used its theories as the basis of a novel (yes, fiction) i am writing. i would suggest this reading to anyone interested in gender studies, anthropology, archeology, sexual identity, and religious studies.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Mery C. Robinson (mery@home.com) on October 16, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Beginning with some very controversial (but very well supported documentation) foundations on the history and evolution of modern religious and patriarchial theological development, Gould-Davis presents a very compelling basis for matrilinial foundations for religion and patriarchial resistance and subsequent attempts to hammer it into submission. The chapters on matriliny and the Bible are particularly compelling and well- supported as are the very foundations of Old and New Testament editing to support the patriarchial dogma which has prevailed thus far.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven H. Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on February 26, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Elizabeth Gould Davis (1910-1974) was an American librarian in Sarasota, Florida, who wrote this pathbreaking book (which was very influential on the growing women's movement) in 1973. She said in the Introduction, "This work is the result of the convergence of two streams of thought: the first, that the earliest civilization we know was but a renewal of a then dimly remembered and now utterly forgotten older one; and the second, that the impelling and revivifying agent in what we know as civilization was woman... So long has the myth of feminine inferiority prevailed that women themselves find it hard to believe that their own sex was once and for a very long time the superior and dominant sex... We must repudiate two thousand years of propaganda concerning the inferiority of woman... the time has come to put woman back into the history books, and... to readmit her to the human race. Her contribution to civilization has been greater than man's, and man has overlooked her long enough." (Pg. 15, 18)

She uses mythology heavily, observing, "myth and tradition credit women with ALL the inventions and discoveries these words connote. And mythology, we repeat, is the memory of real events experienced by the human race." (Pg. 42) She asserts, "When man substituted God for the Great Goddess he at the same time substituted authoritarian for humanistic values." (Pg. 115) She suggests, "Patriarchal peoples place more emphasis in property rights than in human rights and more emphasis on rigid moral conformity than on concepts of justice and mercy... In the matriarchal view, the very right of society to establish arbitrary mores is questioned..." (Pg.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Osborne on October 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In short, I'm in love with this book, and now consider it a must-read for any woman. I find it uplifting, inspiring, and informative. It's well-written from start to finish -- clear and compelling and smart. I know that some of the research she draws on has been de-bunked or criticized, but frankly, that doesn't diminish the experience of reading this book, at least not for me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By international film fan on April 22, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Although it is not without flaws, the book is a landmark.
The only thing better is Mary Daly's "Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism" (1978) which builds on Elizabeth Gould Davis's work.
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21 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Morgaine Swann, H.Ps. VINE VOICE on January 19, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
If I could make everyone on the planet read one book, this would be it. Ms. Davis gives us a new slant on archeology, stripping away layer upon layer of gender bias to find our decidedly feminist roots.

Note that the reviews listed below which are critical are written by men. This is the truth they can't handle, and the herstory they've tried so hard to bury. Even if you don't agree with the book's content, looking at history from a new perspective can only enhance ones world view. I disagree that the information has been "disproven". Rather, the vehemence with which it is attacked tells me that Davis was on to something.

Absolutely essential for any woman's library.
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