Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War

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Diane Publishing Company, Jan 1, 1997 - History - 292 pages
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What draws our species to war and even makes us see it as a kind of sacred undertaking? Takes us on a journey from prehistoric Africa to the trenches of Verdun, from the human sacrifices of pre-colonial Central Amer. to the carnage and holocaust of 20th-cent. "total war." Discovers the wellspring in the blood rites early humans performed to reenact their terrifying experience of predation by stronger carnivores. There is the first form of socially sanctioned violence -- and the spiritual antecedent of war. Traces war's evolution from the sacred undertaking of a privileged warrior caste to the rite of nationalism and shows the persistence of ancient fears in the modern rituals of war.

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Social critic and Time magazine essayist Ehrenreich (The Worst Years of Our Lives, LJ 4/15/90) turns her attention here to anthropology, delving into the causes of man's age-old interest in war. Her ... Read full review

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About the author (1997)

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of "Blood Rites"; "The Worst Years of Our Lives"; "Fear of Falling", which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, & eight other books. A frequent contributor to Time, Harper's, Esquire, The New Republic, Mirabella, The Nation, The New York Magazine, she lives near Key West, Florida.

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