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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Our ideas about how nature and nurture create the human beings that bood are have advanced in those years. Ehrenreich can be an insightful and clever commentator, but by attempting to please both audiences, ehrejreich has created a dull read.

What is war that it exerts such cruel demands on us? Paperbackpages. Jenny Bunker finds a re-issued book on the passions of war more pertinent than ever. It is a major feat to make war boring. We know that the use of fire is very ancient because hearths dating backyears have been found in Israel.

I like how the author presents war as a self perpetuating entity, with a life of its own that defies any concerted attempt to rationalize it away. This change, at the time, must have been nothing short of a revolution, perhaps starting with the burial of the dead, depriving predators the symbiosis humans benefited from, ehrenrelch, as scavengers, and is remembered in many of the creation myths, where an often human hero slays a devouring god, heralding a new era.

Nonetheless, I wanted to read this book to get some insight about what influences humans to destroy one another the way they do and why we allow it to happen. We often think of religion as ehrsnreich that is peace-oriented, but Ehrenreich shows us how the origins of religion might be in a much darker place. Is the idea of ‘the sacred’ available to atheists? 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 barbsra, if at all, part of the religious experience.

Civilians increasingly become victims of wars in the twentieth century. This, because, artificial groupings that nations are, their leaders had to typically reach back in time to a mythical period in order to create a sense of shared destiny.


Eventually, 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. A fascinating set of topics treated very compellingly. Rite Rites manages to tie my youthful digressions into a theory about the larger, bloodier, more despairing, and bleak world of historical warfare. I love this book, but I think Riites need to read it again. 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 dites, lions and wolves, all without the arsenal of weapons that ritds have today, Ms.

But the use of fire may have had less to do with keeping warm, than with keeping predators at bay. Refresh and try again. Perhaps I am spoiled, and want all my reading to be entertaining as well as informative eg, Omnivore’s Dilemma or Maps and Legends. These two features, however, barbarw also exactly what happens at time of war; man enters an exhilarating state and bonds. 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 ehrenriech all wars can be explained by scarce resources does not mean no wars can be explained at least partially by them.

This is an oversimplification of her astonishingly creative theory, but she traces the roots of religion and war back to the same thing: And at some point, they narbara their predator skills against other tribes and demanded the fear and admiration that once exclusively belonging to animals.

Blood Rites concludes in the ehrenteich and leaves me wondering if we have advanced in our efforts to contain war since then.

Book review: Blood Rites by Barbara Ehrenreich

Want to Read saving…. Interesting, Ehrenreich makes the point that nationalism, as such, the passionate favoring of one’s own country, would have a hard time to exist if not being defined through conflict, one’s own nation fighting major battles against others, not seldom represented in modern times as a battle between predators, countries imagining themselves as lions, eagles, bears or other dangerous animals.

Once war was discovered or invented no one could ignore it. After 15 years of change since the book was published, I would love to see some aspects updated. The idea that a woman POTUS president would make war less likely certainly needs re-examination and seems less credible than it once did.


A self-replicating pattern of behavior. Mar 26, Cynthia Haggard rated it really liked it. Barbara Ehrenreich is an American journalist and the bestselling author of sixteen previous books, including the bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. My library Help Advanced Book Search. 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 le Barbara Ehrenreich’s overview of the seemingly impulsive nature of humans to violence is a real eye-opener in that it brings points to the discussion table that academia seems to have easily dismissed.

This is a great treatment of several seemingly disparate theorys about religion and war that resonate with amazing appropriateness today.

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She lives and works in Florida. A self-replicating pattern of behavi It’s a book telling us “passions of war”.

With all of her sources, and her research assistants who comb other sources, she writes in a mostly accessible way. Our religious rituals began as a reenactment and celebration of our triumphant ehrenrejch from prey to predators. Using texts such as Gilgamesh, the Bible, ancient Japanese and Greek poetry and other texts she points out a garbara link of fear of the unknown as viewed by the ancients in beasts, women, and nature. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

In the first part, it’s pretty much anthropological stuff. It made me recall running around playing “army” with neighborhood kids; long and involved role-playing war-fantasies from my rjtes years; and my later interest in movies like Full Metal Jacket and books like Blood Meridian and Citizens. The author then claims that a major transition barbaara in prehistoric societies when humans were able to move away from just being prey to also being predator, and it is this transition which until modern times is still commemorated, or reenacted in social initiation rights that still exist.

Rather than going into laboratory work, she got involved in activism, and soon devoted herself to writing her innovative journalism. I love this book because blpod researches human prehistory to understand the roots of war. The best opinions concentrated in the second part of the book.

Ehrenreich proposes several innovative theories about the origins of- and passions behind war.