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. Book review: Blood Rites by Barbara Ehrenreich. Jenny Bunker finds a re-issued book on the passions of war more pertinent than ever. Origins and History of the Passions of War by Barbara Ehrenreich. Reviews • Buy the Book. In Blood Rites, Barbara Ehrenreich confronts the.

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Ritea any case, a lot of food for thought, and much of the information and insight is relevant today. She states that a theory of war is needed in order to fight it, but the end of the book sounds false and forced.

Ehrenreich then points out that, starting with Zoroastrianism, the religions popping up in the, roughly, thousand years since, perhaps as a result of the rise of a merchant class and pastoralism losing its dominance, sacrifice became much less, bwrbara at all, part of the religious experience.

Her research led her to link killing and war to ritual and sacrifice and how religion and the sacrificial nature of war continues to act as a legitimaizing agent pitting the proverbial “us” against “them”. What can be said about the change of the role of women in the modern military in just 15 years? Want to Read Currently Reading Read. When the practice and passions of war were largely confined to a warrior elite, popular opposition to war usually took the form of opposition to that elite.

Part anthropology, part sociology, part history, this is an original, eye-opening and highly persuasive account. This is a thoughtful, skeptical, probing, thorough exploration of one of the most important and puzzling problems our species faces. MacmillanMay 15, – History – pages.

This book clarified a lot of human nature for me, and still stands as very relevant today. The ideas are thought provoking and while I think her argument may have a couple small leaks, for the most part it held water.

May 16, Michelle Mead rated it liked it. Barbwra, humans acquired better equipment in the shape of horses and arrows that meant that they could protect themselves far more efficiently from the big cats. Her interests in class and gender find expression in Blood Rites too. It is meticulously researched. Excellent investigation into the underlying reasons for war.


She is the winner of the L. This book explains so much, not just about war, but human beings everywhere.

Book review: Blood Rites by Barbara Ehrenreich

Rather than man being a predator since his primordial origins, man started out as prey. Perhaps I am spoiled, and want all my reading to be entertaining as well as informative eg, Omnivore’s Dilemma or Maps and Legends. I do not know if Ms. A flaw though in her tone is that it gets a tad repetative and it seems as though she uses the old academic trick of pulling from a variety of sources to make smaller points that coincide with her overall thesis.

It traces human’s the most primitive impulse, the bloodlust passion for war. She reports that the reasons for war are different from conflict to conflict, so while ancient influences for war may be inherent in modern war, the roots of modern wars are still different than in the past.

The information in Blood Rites could be checked and expanded but it is hard to see how her conclusions could be confirmed. Violence and Collective Responsibility Sandra L.

Drawing parallels between ancient religions with their blood-soaked rituals, and the fact that for thousands of years a small band of humans had to ward off predators in the shape of tigers, lions and wolves, all without the arsenal of weapons that we have today, Ms.

Blood Rites rekindled my long held interest in almost non-existent theories of ritex. The premise of this book is that we go to war and participate in other bloody rituals primarily to act out the legacy of a time when we had to be aggressive to avoid being eaten by predators. We have sacrificed our loved ones for what is worse than nothing: This is a very interesting take on the desire for humans to witness, and partake in, bloodshed, whether for military or for ritual purposes.

You eventually see what she is getting act but when she goes back and forth, say from the Inquisition to the Aztecs to Aborginies in each paragraph it tends to be cumbersome. In one era we may justify wars to ourselves as necessary to riets resources, in another as required by a deity or to convert unbelievers — the blood-letting continues. The blood rites became sacred. In some ways I am a whrenreich reader, I usually like ehrenreidh presented clearly and with some assurance.


Jul 28, Larry Bassett rated it liked it Shelves: The idea that a woman POTUS president would make war less likely certainly needs re-examination and blokd less credible than it once did. The switch from prey-predator to stalker happened around the same time that ehrenrich started to look towards agriculture as a, at least in part, means of survival, and around the same time that war became a more prominent facet of life.

But I think she is right to point out that there is much more to war than killing people, even though that is its salient feature. Ehrenreich draws on biology, anthropology, and theology among other -ologies in her efforts to understand the complicated nature of the subject.

Suggests an origin for the fervor humanity has for war and how its manifestation has morphed throughout our history. By necessity, a lot is speculation, and I think taking the case too much at face value could lead us to discount other important variables to state that not all wars can be explained by scarce resources does not mean no wars can be explained at least partially by them.

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When massive beasts went extinct, solitary or small hunting groups became more efficient threatening the now superfluous large bands’ of men exalted positions within their tribes. Less than one page leaves me seriously unsatisfied.

This is hinted at by the roles classic generals played, such as Alexander ehrenrich Great or Caesar, being both generals and religious leaders. What draws our species to war and even makes us see it as a kind of sacred undertaking?

Book review: Blood Rites by Barbara Ehrenreich | New Humanist

Ehrenreich is right about barabra. She also points out that the difference in strength between men and women would have been entirely meaningless when faced with the attack of a predator of far greater strength than either. What is war that it exerts such cruel demands on us? If anything, humanity and its civilisations look to be tools used by war rather than the converse.