Blood Rites by Barbara Ehrenreich
Origins and History of the Passions of War

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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 of sacred undertaking? Blood Rites takes us on an original journey from the elaborate human sacrifices of the ancient world to the carnage and holocaust of twentieth-century "total war." Sifting through the fragile records of prehistory, Ehrenreich discovers the wellspring of war in an unexpected place--not in a "killer instinct" unique to the males of our species but in the blood rites early humans performed to reenact their terrifying experience of predation by stronger carnivores. Brilliant in conception, rich in scope, Blood Rites is a monumental work that will transform our understanding of the greatest single threat to human life.
 

About Barbara Ehrenreich

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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.
 
Published January 1, 1997 by Diane Pub Co. 292 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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What Ehrenreich calls humankind's ``sacralization of war'' (the tendency to invest the emotional trappings of religious fervor in war) stems from the evolution of humans from prey into predators, the feelings engendered in ``a creature which has learned only `recently,' in the last thousand or so...

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Publishers Weekly

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Ehrenreich's concluding assertion that mass participation in war has begun to generate mass opposition to war is an undeveloped variation on Henry James's 19th-century call for a ""moral equivalent."" In addition, Ehrenreich tends to overlook alternate interpretations.

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Entertainment Weekly

A Originally posted Jun 13, 1997 Published in issue #383 Jun 13, 1997 Order article reprints

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Project MUSE

Readers may be a bit daunted to learn from the dust-jacket of Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War that its author, Barbara Ehrenreich, intends to take them "on an original journey from the grasslands of prehistoric Africa to the trenches of Verdun, from the elaborate sacrifice...

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The Humanist

Ehrenreich herself, though, ultimately sees Blood Rites as a call to arms: at last the time has come to unite in fighting our deadliest predator of all, war itself. This article is from New Humanist magazine, produced by the Rationalist Association, a charity dedicated to reason, science, secula...

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Curtis Brown

Granta published Barbara Ehrenreich’s 1997 classic groundbreaking investigation into the roots of war, with a new afterword relating her argument to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the UK in April 2011.

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