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Origins is the first of four volumes of a momental, readable, and unprecedented history of women throughout the world. The internationally celebrated author of The Women's Room, Marilyn French, spent over fifteen years with a team of researchers and prominent historians examining women's lives and activities in civilizations and societies spanning the ages. Beginning in pre Origins is the first of four volumes of a momental, readable, and unprecedented history of women throughout the world. The internationally celebrated author of The Women's Room, Marilyn French, spent over fifteen years with a team of researchers and prominent historians examining women's lives and activities in civilizations and societies spanning the ages. Beginning in prehistory, Origins moves on to examine women's lives in ancient Egypt, China, India, Peru, Mexico, Greece, and Rome. In her reconstruction of wars, laws, and other activities affecting both women and men, French also traces the worldviews underpinning them. In accessible writing for a broad readership, three chapters depict how women's relationship to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam changed for good and bad over the centuries.


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Origins is the first of four volumes of a momental, readable, and unprecedented history of women throughout the world. The internationally celebrated author of The Women's Room, Marilyn French, spent over fifteen years with a team of researchers and prominent historians examining women's lives and activities in civilizations and societies spanning the ages. Beginning in pre Origins is the first of four volumes of a momental, readable, and unprecedented history of women throughout the world. The internationally celebrated author of The Women's Room, Marilyn French, spent over fifteen years with a team of researchers and prominent historians examining women's lives and activities in civilizations and societies spanning the ages. Beginning in prehistory, Origins moves on to examine women's lives in ancient Egypt, China, India, Peru, Mexico, Greece, and Rome. In her reconstruction of wars, laws, and other activities affecting both women and men, French also traces the worldviews underpinning them. In accessible writing for a broad readership, three chapters depict how women's relationship to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam changed for good and bad over the centuries.

30 review for From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women in the World, Vol. 1

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This first volume in the four volume work covers pre-recorded history as well as ancient civilizations - Greece, Rome, South America, and Sumer. Because of this some of what French writes is guesswork or conjunction – we cannot know how unhappy or miserable a marriage in ancient Greece was for instance; and how much is a some number versus a few number. But these are quibbles, and when French uses guess work it is obvious. What is important is that the history book does balance the more male fo This first volume in the four volume work covers pre-recorded history as well as ancient civilizations - Greece, Rome, South America, and Sumer. Because of this some of what French writes is guesswork or conjunction – we cannot know how unhappy or miserable a marriage in ancient Greece was for instance; and how much is a some number versus a few number. But these are quibbles, and when French uses guess work it is obvious. What is important is that the history book does balance the more male focus history as well as shows how the groundwork for some the current gender issues -such as male preference. That is something which is truly horrifying. The tone is easy to read and follow. And if you are worried that is nothing but male bashing – don’t. It might be established government bashing and patriarchy bashing. – Not male bashing. In fact, in some cases it is actually sympathetic to men.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elevate Difference

    I was first introduced to Marilyn French as an enthusiastic college student entering the world of radical feminism. I came across references to The Women's Room repeatedly in my personal studies of feminist history and theory, and finally had to sit down and read it. I read the book in less than a week, and it had an enormous impact on my feminism and overall politics. When I heard Marilyn French had written a multi-volume anthology on the history of women, I was intrigued. While I can’t say tha I was first introduced to Marilyn French as an enthusiastic college student entering the world of radical feminism. I came across references to The Women's Room repeatedly in my personal studies of feminist history and theory, and finally had to sit down and read it. I read the book in less than a week, and it had an enormous impact on my feminism and overall politics. When I heard Marilyn French had written a multi-volume anthology on the history of women, I was intrigued. While I can’t say that I read this book in less than a week (the book runs 516 pages), the final volume of the four-volume From Eve to Dawn series, Revolutions and Struggles for Justice in the 20th Century, was far from disappointing. While nonfiction and very academic, the history kept me turning pages for the same reason that The Women's Room did. Revolutions and Struggles for Justice in the 20th Century is unashamedly feminist and provides readers with a world history from the perspective of women's struggles for justice in a capitalistic and misogynistic world. The anthology starts out with a brilliant overview of socialist movements in Europe. It begins with the story of Rozalia Luksenburg, a physically disabled Jew from Poland who overcame her physical barriers to become one of the most influential voices of the socialist movement in Eastern Europe, both attacking and gaining great respect from Lenin. It was during this time (early twentieth century) that the observance of International Women's Day began, initiated by Clara Zetkin, a fellow socialist revolutionary. After providing a comprehensive history of socialist movements in Europe, French covers anti-imperialism in Latin America, India, and Africa before moving on to a history of feminism itself. I appreciated French's inclusion of women's and feminists histories that are little known, even to Women's Studies majors such as myself. For instance, I was surprised and intrigued to know that in Japan, the feminist movement was started largely by men who saw the advancement of women as vital to their cultural preservation and relevance in the world. However, when women decided to follow men in wearing their hair short, it was decreed illegal and required that a woman prove she had medical reasons for cutting her hair. Given the abundance of meticulous detail in the history, it is astounding to think that this is the final edition in a four-volume series. French ends her anthology discussing the future of feminism and proposes alternatives to the current state of the movement in order to achieve our ideals. The conclusion of the book very much acts as the climax of this history and serves as a celebration of womanhood. My favorite line is in the closing chapters of the book when Marilyn French reminds us that feminism "is a revolution one can dance at. Its ends and means stress cooperation, felicity and the fostering of life." The From Eve to Dawn series is the very personification of this statement and a must-read for any women's history enthusiast. I can't wait to get my hands on the previous volumes. Review by Janice Formichella

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rochelle

    Wow! This book is amazing to read. It took me back to the beginning of the human race in Africa. The book made me realize that females have played a major part of life. We always hear about the 'men' and how they fought wars, discovered new forms of things and how strong and brave they were and are today. We don't usually hear to much about the 'females' It is funny cause we all came from one female in Africa. This book has opened my eyes to the world and our history in it, in a different and unique Wow! This book is amazing to read. It took me back to the beginning of the human race in Africa. The book made me realize that females have played a major part of life. We always hear about the 'men' and how they fought wars, discovered new forms of things and how strong and brave they were and are today. We don't usually hear to much about the 'females' It is funny cause we all came from one female in Africa. This book has opened my eyes to the world and our history in it, in a different and unique way. I have come to view us females, as Goddesses,equals and so much more! I come to realize that we played a major role in our history, not just as baby makers but as equals to men. It has made me raise my chin a little higher, brighten my female smile and the book has made me proud to be a female! But, that was then....in book 1!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    This book, a cross-cultural look at the place of women in societies from the Neolithic period to the end of the first millennium AD, was quite possibly the most depressing book I've ever read. Which is kind of surprising, because I was already familiar with a lot of the individual subject areas being discussed, but hadn't really considered them in the aggregate. The view you get when you do that is that regardless of how a society is organized, regardless of whether or not it's religious, regardl This book, a cross-cultural look at the place of women in societies from the Neolithic period to the end of the first millennium AD, was quite possibly the most depressing book I've ever read. Which is kind of surprising, because I was already familiar with a lot of the individual subject areas being discussed, but hadn't really considered them in the aggregate. The view you get when you do that is that regardless of how a society is organized, regardless of whether or not it's religious, regardless of its economic organization ... men treat women like garbage. You'd think that, as a group, we'd learn that this is not only immoral, it also slows the pace of societal advancement, but apparently we NEVER DO.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Corinne

    Marilyn French's history of women (and patriarchy) is exhaustive. I greatly enjoyed reading through the first book, and to say I learned a lot is an understatement. However, French's book would benefit from a slightly more scholarly and documented writing style. Often, the parts of the book I most wanted to research more about lacked footnotes or direct citations. That having been said, the writing style is definitely accessible and quite easy to read. It is the sheer amount of information that Marilyn French's history of women (and patriarchy) is exhaustive. I greatly enjoyed reading through the first book, and to say I learned a lot is an understatement. However, French's book would benefit from a slightly more scholarly and documented writing style. Often, the parts of the book I most wanted to research more about lacked footnotes or direct citations. That having been said, the writing style is definitely accessible and quite easy to read. It is the sheer amount of information that may be overwhelming. This is a set of books I plan to invest in so that I can return to them time and time again.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sense Of History

    This is the first part of a series of 4 on a female history of the world. I read the Dutch translation, Een vrouwelijke geschiedenis van de wereld. that comprimes all volumes. Here's my review of the whole set: A really universal history cannot but take the gender issue very seriously. During most of human history women have been subdued, enslaved and brutalised in almost all parts of the world. One aspect of this process was to erase the female part out of history itself: in almost all of the hi This is the first part of a series of 4 on a female history of the world. I read the Dutch translation, Een vrouwelijke geschiedenis van de wereld. that comprimes all volumes. Here's my review of the whole set: A really universal history cannot but take the gender issue very seriously. During most of human history women have been subdued, enslaved and brutalised in almost all parts of the world. One aspect of this process was to erase the female part out of history itself: in almost all of the historical writings until the 20th Century the male point of view is omnipresent, and if as an exception any attention is given to remarkable women, it is mostly to underline their evil deeds and negative influence. Only let’s say that the last 100 years the female condition has gone through positive changes, although not everywhere and still rather precarious. And so in historiography a growing league of historians has tried to restore the balance and pays much more attention to the female condition in history in general. Marylin French takes this “correction” one step further: she not only has written a very thorough reconstruction of the female part of history, but also makes a first attempt to fundamentally explain how male domination has come to be universal, and why. She introduces the notion of “patriarchate”, and illustrates that this was a reality that stretched out into every human activity (political, social, economical, religious, cultural, mental) because it had a very strong ideological motivation. One can reject her hypothesis that the patriarchate was inspired by male jealousy of female nearness to life and nature (through child birth and motherhood), and have an issue with the notion of “male mystique” that she introduces about halfway in the book (to me, that has a too deterministic connotation), but that the patriarchate was (and sometimes still is) a fact, cannot be denied. So I think it is the job of historians to keep on substantiating how and why this male domination was so universal (there are no societies with outspoken female domination to be found in history, as far as I know). Marylin French has done a great job in formulating some challenging thoughts. I hope others will build on it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Drina

    The sociological themes that French is able to link together are fascinating. Volume 1 focuses primarily on the development of society, moving later onto more recognizable historical events, but you can see so much of modern attitudes towards women and their place in society in how she describes the past. I consider myself a pretty average consumer, in terms of literature. I have no special training in history, sociology, literature, etc. Outside of being a self aware female, I have no strong ed The sociological themes that French is able to link together are fascinating. Volume 1 focuses primarily on the development of society, moving later onto more recognizable historical events, but you can see so much of modern attitudes towards women and their place in society in how she describes the past. I consider myself a pretty average consumer, in terms of literature. I have no special training in history, sociology, literature, etc. Outside of being a self aware female, I have no strong education in feminism (only a strong interest) so I will say this: to an interested reader, this book is comprehensive, entertaining, and well written. Its insights make you think and French makes you want to learn more about these women.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    While the writing style is often awkward and the text isn't as organized as I'd like, the information is fascinating. I found the sections discussing Greece, Rome, and western religion the most intriguing, possibly because I already had a good foundation in these histories and cultures to form a baseline for putting her writing into context.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Partial read of a huge nonfiction book...may come back to read other bits later. Read the first several chapters describing the possible clues to women's lives prior to the first big civilizations such those in Egypt and Greece. I found the information really interesting and thought-provoking, as it presented ideas of women being differently (and more centrally and powerfully) in the world prior to the advent of an organized church/military/city-state. French clearly has an agenda, so I wasn't a Partial read of a huge nonfiction book...may come back to read other bits later. Read the first several chapters describing the possible clues to women's lives prior to the first big civilizations such those in Egypt and Greece. I found the information really interesting and thought-provoking, as it presented ideas of women being differently (and more centrally and powerfully) in the world prior to the advent of an organized church/military/city-state. French clearly has an agenda, so I wasn't always sure how much of what she was extrapolating from limited archeological data was more wishful thinking than the "facts" that she claimed they were. Very interesting reading...totally worth it and made me want to explore more.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kati

    This is the first book in a four book series chronicling the history of women from pre-history to the present. This book addresses pre-history to around the beginning of the Common Era. I found it very readable and interesting. Like any history book, so much of this book is speculation or best guesses about how people lived and why. I would have liked to be able to discuss the book with French so I could hear other points of view, what the dominate theories are and the methodology used to reach h This is the first book in a four book series chronicling the history of women from pre-history to the present. This book addresses pre-history to around the beginning of the Common Era. I found it very readable and interesting. Like any history book, so much of this book is speculation or best guesses about how people lived and why. I would have liked to be able to discuss the book with French so I could hear other points of view, what the dominate theories are and the methodology used to reach her conclusions, sometimes at odds with the dominate paradigm. I think a reader that is biased against French's view of history would feel unconvinced.

  11. 5 out of 5

    C

    Incredible overview of hundreds of thousands of years of women in history, condensed into a slim volume (the first of four). From Eve to Dawn A History of Women in the World is an electrifying and provoking feminist read. Fair warning: it's not light reading, and is sure to get your blood boiling as you read about one indignity and injustice after another perpetuated against women. Incredible overview of hundreds of thousands of years of women in history, condensed into a slim volume (the first of four). From Eve to Dawn A History of Women in the World is an electrifying and provoking feminist read. Fair warning: it's not light reading, and is sure to get your blood boiling as you read about one indignity and injustice after another perpetuated against women.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Online

    HERSTORY REVISITED Karen Offen Review of From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women in the World By Marilyn French The Feminist Press at the City University of New York Marilyn French’s fervently feminist novel The Woman’s Room has sold 20 million copies since it was published in 1977, and its author, now nearing 80, remains as ardent as ever in her defense of women’s rights. In four ambitious volumes under the title From Eve to Dawn, she surveys world history from a staunchly feminist perspective. Written HERSTORY REVISITED Karen Offen Review of From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women in the World By Marilyn French The Feminist Press at the City University of New York Marilyn French’s fervently feminist novel The Woman’s Room has sold 20 million copies since it was published in 1977, and its author, now nearing 80, remains as ardent as ever in her defense of women’s rights. In four ambitious volumes under the title From Eve to Dawn, she surveys world history from a staunchly feminist perspective. Written during the 1980s and early 1990s and published in Toronto in 2002, this epic work now makes its debut in the United States. Early on, French expresses her major concern: the rising fundamentalist backlash against women’s rights. “If you pay attention to history, and know what has happened in the past,” she writes in the introduction, “you will realize that the rights we have so arduously won in the United States slowly but surely can be rescinded by a right-wing Supreme Court combined with a right-wing government. And are.” In Origins, the first volume, French re-examines the earliest human records and addresses the history of major world religions and cultures that have shaped gender relations in the West. The next two volumes tell the story of patriarchy and female subordination: The Masculine Mystique traces the rise of feudalism in Europe and Japan, the rise of European nation-states and imperial expansion and, finally, the French Revolution. Infernos and Paradises, the Triumph of Capitalism in the 19th Century takes the measure of industrialization and of Western imperialism in Africa, then narrows the focus to England and the United States. Her final volume, Revolutions and the Struggles for Justice in the 20th Century, addresses socialism, revolution, fascism and anti-imperial revolutions in various parts of the world. The final chapters treat the recent history of feminism and its future potential. “The feminist movement,” French asserts, “is the most important revolution that has ever occurred on earth.” Shadowed by pessimism and outrage, French’s work is grounded in the first generation of scholarship about women’s history in the English language, which focused on what men did to women. But since the 1970s, that early emphasis has been supplemented by discoveries of what women accomplished despite restrictive conditions, with the goal of exposing and eliminating those conditions. Scholars worldwide now confront the male-centric politics of earlier histories with penetrating gender analyses of religion, the state, social and political systems, and war and peace. Readers curious about these findings can consult another recent four-volume work, edited by Bonnie G. Smith, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History (2008); the Smith-edited pamphlet series published by the American Historical Association, Women’s and Gender History in Global Perspective; and ViVa, an online multilingual bibliography of women’s and gender history articles (www.iisg.nl/~womhist/vivahome.php). Marilyn French is a literary critic, acclaimed essayist and bestselling novelist, but not a trained historian, and it shows. Readers can profit greatly from her brisk and passionate prose, but anyone seriously interested in women’s history and the history of feminisms shouldn’t stop there. --- KAREN OFFEN is a senior scholar at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University and cofounder of the International Federation for Research in Women’s History. Her most recent book is European Feminisms, 1700–1950: A Political History (Stanford University Press, 2000).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kolumbina

    What an interesting book. So women don't have maternal instincts. Everything and anything maternal, girls learn from their mothers through their childhood and upbringing. Makes sense. Learned many things from Marilyn French's book, a lot about men and about women and how it all started. Living now and working in multinational country with all sorts of religions I found this book very useful, almost necessity. And as always in M. F.'s books absolutely adore her interpretations and explanations. 4 s What an interesting book. So women don't have maternal instincts. Everything and anything maternal, girls learn from their mothers through their childhood and upbringing. Makes sense. Learned many things from Marilyn French's book, a lot about men and about women and how it all started. Living now and working in multinational country with all sorts of religions I found this book very useful, almost necessity. And as always in M. F.'s books absolutely adore her interpretations and explanations. 4 stars only cos I learned a lot of history of Sumer, Greece, China (mentioned in the book) during my high school education.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    This is not for the faint of heart. It depicts the situation of women throughout the ages. It begins with wars in Europe when women were used to provide the means and support for men's wars. It goes from male supremacy, mandated by the church, to white supremacy as Europeans killed and enslaved all the indigenous people of Africa and North and South America. Domination of women's sexual lives was about power and apparently had as its origin control of the purity of the white race. Slavery was wi This is not for the faint of heart. It depicts the situation of women throughout the ages. It begins with wars in Europe when women were used to provide the means and support for men's wars. It goes from male supremacy, mandated by the church, to white supremacy as Europeans killed and enslaved all the indigenous people of Africa and North and South America. Domination of women's sexual lives was about power and apparently had as its origin control of the purity of the white race. Slavery was widespread wherever Europeans came to conquer. Needless to say women always had the role of slave. War and acquisition seemed to be the overriding motivation.

  15. 4 out of 5

    sardit

    Passionate, ambitious, widely researched, but contains exactly the flaws you would expect out of a historical work on this scale written by a non-expert. Although, to be honest, I am doubtful that anyone could actually claim to have mastered the material on this scale, given how broad a topic it is trying to cover, and I think there’s something to be said for a comprehensive overview despite the flaws. On the topics I am reasonably familiar with, I was very often going I don't entirely disagree Passionate, ambitious, widely researched, but contains exactly the flaws you would expect out of a historical work on this scale written by a non-expert. Although, to be honest, I am doubtful that anyone could actually claim to have mastered the material on this scale, given how broad a topic it is trying to cover, and I think there’s something to be said for a comprehensive overview despite the flaws. On the topics I am reasonably familiar with, I was very often going I don't entirely disagree with you, but I'm not sure I agree with you, either. On the balance I am at least willing to read more of French’s argument.

  16. 4 out of 5

    M

    I didn't finish this. I thought some of the information was interesting but wished that this had been better, as I think that this information needs to be out there. The author said she had to really revise her work a great deal so that it could be published. Maybe I'll pick it up again later and give it another try.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carly

    fascinating/depressing/anger-inducing. can be highly reductionist, but how could it not be when you're trying to fit a history of half the world's population through all of human history? i have never been more grateful for my right to own property.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Reed

    This book has changed the way I see the world. So much interesting and harrowing information presented in a very accessible style. I'm looking forward to reading the other volumes but think I need to read a light-hearted novel first!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    This book was fantabulous, if a little repetitive. Now I have to do inter-library loan to read the three other books in this series to get to present-day.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nutkin

    This book gives an easy-to-read account of the early history of women. It's the first time I've read a history book just for pleasure and I found a lot of the information to be quite interesting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Carey

    A must Read for everywoman!! You will gain a new found desire to search out truths behind the social structure of the world , and what and who made it what it is today......

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sam Funez

    This was great! It’s a lot of information but not difficult to read, very accessible. I loved the first volume and I’m diving excitedly into the second!! Woo!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alisha

    HOLY SHIT this is blowing my MIND. Readit. !

  24. 4 out of 5

    Blackbook

    Volumes 1-4. Great. Thorough. The last part, a little dated.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    The election of 2016 resurrected my long-standing interest in feminism, sexism and misogyny. Coupled with the BBC documentary series “The Ascent of Woman” by Dr. Amanda Foreman my curiosity sent me in pursuit of an in-depth history of women. I quickly discovered that there was precious little available that took a long view of women from the dawn of time to the present day. This series by Marilyn French is one of the few available. Initially, French’s project, writing a history of “women in the The election of 2016 resurrected my long-standing interest in feminism, sexism and misogyny. Coupled with the BBC documentary series “The Ascent of Woman” by Dr. Amanda Foreman my curiosity sent me in pursuit of an in-depth history of women. I quickly discovered that there was precious little available that took a long view of women from the dawn of time to the present day. This series by Marilyn French is one of the few available. Initially, French’s project, writing a history of “women in the world” yielded a daunting 2,000 pages of text which no one wanted to publish. Eventually the text was sectioned into four volumes, of which this is the first. French, a well-known radical feminist author, launched this project as her final contribution in her life-long effort to enlighten us on the place of women in society. This volume covers from the dawn of human history through to the establishment of religion as a fundamental institution in society — securing patriarchy and the near-total submission of women. Working from the archeological record, early writings, art, and the little historical record of this time, she builds a case for how social systems moved from relative equality, dominated by goddess reverence, to settled cities and “states” driven by war and male dominance. As war became more and more a feature of human society and the institutionalized method of obtaining and sustaining power, men reduced women to mere property under their control to ensure a continuous stream of humans for elite men to deploy to sustain their interests. When humans became settlers rather than hunter-gatherers, the concept of property emerged. Women and land became “owned” after having both been once “free”. French begins with the establishment of human settlements and digs into what we know of the role of women across the globe: Mesopotamia, the Aztecs, China, India, South America, Egypt, Sumer. After exploring by region, she takes on specific cultures and religions. It is in discussion of the role of religion in securing and embedding patriarchy that the book gets particularly interesting. No culture, no religion, is spared the conclusion that they are by definition misogynistic. And thus, overturning the “system”, which has become to most humans “nature” itself, will be no small task. The information here is fundamental to understanding how we got where we are today. It opens your eyes to see that freedom for women (and men) is not a matter of declaring and legislating a list of “rights” but rather a deep examination of what it means to be human and live within a society with multiple genders. For in the end, it’s about power — who has it, what justifies it, and how it is sustained and wielded. There are problems with the book that need to be acknowledged. It often feels as if it is a series of facts strung together and then organized into categories rather than a compelling narrative. Often, that causes the text to just drone on and on, pummeling the reader with information that is without any tether to keep one engaged. An author of this talent could have been expected to write this history in a way that helped the reader connect emotionally with the time, with the lives of women as lived during the period under examination. Instead, it feels “clinical”, dry, devoid of the personal. At the end of this volume there is no summary chapter to tie all the pieces together and to set the stage for the next volume. I think this is a serious flaw. There is no synthesis at all. The last chapter on Islam, just ends. There is nothing pulling together the collective impact of religion. One is reduced to creating a conclusion to the volume on one’s own. This suggests that the original single volume (of 2,000 pages!) was just arbitrarily cut into pieces rather than planned out as a multi-volume work. Despite the flaws however, there is little else available that covers so much ground. It is a book that compels one to make notes, to read slowly, and to perhaps re-read bits and pieces. As women in the 21st century attempt to establish new rules and new roles, it would behoove us to recognize how deeply and unconsciously we all continue to support the patriarchal worldview even when we think we are making reforms or acting freely. Recommended for all women who want a deeper understanding of what it means to think like a feminist and who yearn to restructure human relationships and socioeconomic systems.

  26. 5 out of 5

    The Overflowing Inkwell

    I personally loved reading a critical description of Greek (esp Athenian) and Roman cultures, rather than the constant adulation of those societies by modern historians and those of a philosophic bent. I was afraid reading this would make me frustrated and angry, as much reading in this vein does - makes you want to go and scream at the world for being awful, if nothing else - but for some reason, this book didn't do that. I did feel a sense of it all being an inevitable doom as culture after cu I personally loved reading a critical description of Greek (esp Athenian) and Roman cultures, rather than the constant adulation of those societies by modern historians and those of a philosophic bent. I was afraid reading this would make me frustrated and angry, as much reading in this vein does - makes you want to go and scream at the world for being awful, if nothing else - but for some reason, this book didn't do that. I did feel a sense of it all being an inevitable doom as culture after culture was described falling into the same patterns, and I came out of this thinking less hopefully that any of it could be really changed, but it didn't make me hate life after reading it. I was disappointed in the chapter on China. It felt most out of place. There are multiple locales in South America discussed, and all the usual locations (Greece, Rome, India, Egypt, Israel, and the Mesopotamian hotbeds of civilization) in detail, but only the one overall glance at China. The place is massive, which she does admit to, but apart from discussing two large movements on opposite sides of China, there is nothing further. Japan is mentioned in mere sentences as comparisons to later discussions, but there should have been at least as much on China, Korea, and Japan, if not also Southeast Asia, in this book as there were on those previously mentioned areas. China, at least, is a hugely important culture in influencing all the cultures around them, through trade and empire, and needed as much of an in-depth view as those in the West. Instead she mostly focuses on those places that influence Western society today, which is understandable, but I would have loved to see detail in the Far East. I wished for an index; either more words included in the glossary or an index. There were some words that, once introduced, didn't get a definition again (thinking of 'naditu' which was discussed on page 95, but brought up again suddenly on page 229), and it would have been nice to either have the definition handy or an index to help me find it in the text itself. Though I started this with a skeptical eye, and was not at all impressed with the earliest chapters detailing hominid life (she cites the long-debunked theory on mitochondrial DNA "proving" we all descend from a single woman's line), this book grew on me, and I rather enjoyed reading it. I'll come back to this one a few times, I think; there were a lot of ideas and connections she made that I liked that I want to see stand the test of time, and I enjoyed her perspective on many, many aspects.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    * Understanding Oppression: Women's Rights (Then and Now) From Eve to Dawn, A History of Women in the World, Volume I: Origins: From Prehistory to the First Millennium by Marilyn French | Origins is the first of four volumes of a momental, readable, and unprecedented history of women throughout the world. #suffragette #womensrights

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Royan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ary Fausto

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mary

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