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What draws our species to war and makes us see it as a kind of sacred undertaking? In Blood Rites, renowned social critic Barbara Ehrenreich plumbs the mystery of the human attraction to violence. In this sweeping work, she takes us on an original journey from the grasslands of prehistoric Africa to the trenches of Verdun, from the spectacular human sacrifices of pre-colonial Central America to the carnage and holocaust of twentieth-century ‘total war’. Ehrenreich traces the evolution of war from prehistoric forms of socially-sanctioned violence to the mass religion we know today as nationalism, and shows the persistence of ancient fears in the most modern rituals and passions of war. Brillant in conception, rich in detail, epic in scope, Blood Rites is a monumental work that will transform our understanding of the archaic practice that has become the biggest single threat to human life.

Reviews

An extraordinary book, original and witty ... A shocking and gripping narrative
IRISH TIMES
With her vintage combination of daring, originality and common sense ... Barbara Ehrenreich's BLOOD RITES is one of those rare books that make you question everything you thought you knew
SUSAN FALUDI
Full of ideas a great pleasure to read
MELVYN BRAGG
Revealing, provocative and fascinating
LAURENCE JAMES