Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and how They Shape the Human Species
Maternal instinct--the all-consuming, utterly selfless love that mothers lavish on their children--has long been assumed to be an innate, indeed defining element of a woman's nature. But is it? In this provocative, groundbreaking book, renowned anthropologist (and mother) Sarah Blaffer Hrdy shares a radical new vision of motherhood and its crucial role in human evolution.
Hrdy strips away stereotypes and gender-biased myths to demonstrate that traditional views of maternal behavior are essentially wishful thinking codified as objective observation. As Hrdy argues, far from being "selfless," successful primate mothers have always combined nurturing with ambition, mother love with sexual love, ambivalence with devotion. In fact all mothers, in the struggle to guarantee both their own survival and that of their offspring, deal nimbly with competing demands and conflicting strategies.
In her nuanced, stunningly original interpretation of the relationships between mothers and fathers, mothers and babies, and mothers and their social groups, Hrdy offers not only a revolutionary new meaning to motherhood but an important new understanding of human evolution. Written with grace and clarity, suffused with the wisdom of a long and distinguished career, Mother Nature is a profound contribution to our understanding of who we are as a species--and why we have become this way.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - mbmackay - LibraryThing
Evolulutionary biology taking into account the different perspectives of the mother, the father & the embryo/child. Wonderful stuff. Read Nov 2006 Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - greeniezona - LibraryThing
I was finally motivated to pull this weighty tome down off of the shelf after an intriguing review by my sister of Hrdy's most recent work: Mothers and Others. An anthropologist, Hrdy uses human ... Read full review
PART ONE Look to the Animals
Motherhood as a Minefield
A New View of Mothers
24 other sections not shown