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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a pioneering masterpiece but there's much more to know
Riane Eisler is committed to partnership and opposed to domination/ violence/ patriarchy. I found myself shocked and angry about the violently aggressive and coldblooded way our peaceful, responsible and communal world was effectively hijacked by the reptilian mentality - and not just once but repeatedly over the last 6,000 years.

A scholarly and well...
Published on 18 Mar. 2009 by exotissima

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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing but flawed
Eisler presents a fresh answer to questions posed by many feminist writers in history and sociology. What has been the role of women in history and culture. How influential have women been in creating cultural norms? What role have women played in spiritual development, language capability, establishment of community and government? Eisler contends that a partnership of...
Published on 15 Jan. 2006 by Stephen A. Haines


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a pioneering masterpiece but there's much more to know, 18 Mar. 2009
This review is from: The Chalice and the Blade (Paperback)
Riane Eisler is committed to partnership and opposed to domination/ violence/ patriarchy. I found myself shocked and angry about the violently aggressive and coldblooded way our peaceful, responsible and communal world was effectively hijacked by the reptilian mentality - and not just once but repeatedly over the last 6,000 years.

A scholarly and well researched ten year work, drawing from many disciplines, from a woman whose life has been dedicated to helping us understand the mess we are in: how we got here, how violence is perpetuated, and how we can get out of it. Some allege her research and arguments are flawed - as if this pioneering masterpiece should be perfect even though there were very few works, whether before or since, on which such perfection could be honed!

What has been emerging since this book was first published in 1988, is evidence of a systematic suppression of much of the clues about sophisticated cultures that existed all around the world for tens of thousands of years before we were all dominated and enslaved - yes, both women and men - by a warrior race that continues to rule even today, without an iota of compassion. This book celebrates the value of partnership, equality, collaboration, non-violence, and connectedness to nature. Eisler gives us some sense of the enormous power to heal that resides in the repressed feminine, emotional, lunar realms.

There is an excellent complementary book also worth reading: "The Fall" by Steve Taylor about the Patriarchal takeover in Neolithic times. However, I am compelled to point out that no author exhibits the masterly understanding of the imbalances created by the suppression of the feminine, the emotions, as Ceanne DeRohan and her "Right Use of Will" series of books... In her latest book, "Feelings Matter", DeRohan shows exactly how this reptilian mentality - the domination/patriarchal/might-is-right attitude that celebrates war and killing - is being imprinted in all of us from birth and provides practical and peaceful suggestions that all of us can utilise to get free.

It might also be worth taking a look at Michael Tsarion, a revisionist historian who offers a huge body of work on the real story of mankind, much of which can be listened to for free on youtube. There is also Frank O'Collins of Ucadia.com - amazing version of history and a fantastic body of law. Note that I am not saying they have the right version/s, I am just asking: what if it was the way they say it was, rather than the way we were taught in school?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mindblowing re-evaluation of humanity, 7 May 2014
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J. D. Horton - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chalice and the Blade (Paperback)
Before I read this, there were certain things I thought I 'knew' about humanity: that we are violent. that the strong will always dominate the weak. that men have always ruled over women.

Starting at the very dawn of human civilisation, using solid research, this book tells a very different story. It's a sad story of cruelty and repression and missed opportunities, but ultimately a positive one that teaches us we don't have to live like this, we are not slaves to a cruel nature. We just need to bring the partnership back into balance.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone serious about problems in society, 2 Mar. 2001
By A Customer
Eisler's grasp of the underlying issues that plague societies is not only well researched, but resonated with my own view of the situation. Seldom have I felt so in tune with the views of another person's perception of society. Her classification of societies based on whether both sexes are actively engaged in decision making, or just the male domination model, will not suit all views, but it offers an excellent model for further research.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing but flawed, 15 Jan. 2006
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Chalice and the Blade (Paperback)
Eisler presents a fresh answer to questions posed by many feminist writers in history and sociology. What has been the role of women in history and culture. How influential have women been in creating cultural norms? What role have women played in spiritual development, language capability, establishment of community and government? Eisler contends that a partnership of genders, formed in Neolithic times and carried through nascent Mediterranean civilizations, was usurped by male dominant invaders. To Eisler, The Chalice represents women's values of sharing and nurturing. The Blade, of course, is the symbol of war and male dominance through conquest, both of civilizations and of women. She concludes that while male domination has a long history, efforts are being made to overcome The Blade mythology and that The Chalice ideal can be restored and gender "partnership" can be reasserted. It's a captivating thesis, deserving further attention.
Eisler sees Neolithic society functioning in a spiritual Environment governed by The Goddess. Using this term as a universal, much in the way European historians use "God" in referring to any unnamed deity, she contends this spirit guided all early Mediterranean and European peoples. Feminine values held equal stature with [undefined] male values. It isn't clear whether men worshipped The Goddess or their own pantheon. She stresses that worship of The Goddess need not result in matriarchy. Eisler turns to Minoan Crete as the finest example of the "partnership" ideal. As archeologists uncovered the Minoan civilization, their astonishment at its grandeur grew. The discovery of unexpectedly high levels of technology without associated expansionist tendencies Eisler views as typifying what she later terms a "gylanic" society. Cooperation in the domestic environment obviated development of imperialist ambitions.
The real culprits in this scenario are two invading peoples, the Kurgans and the Hebrews. Invading the Mediterranean from northeast and south, they overran many cultures, transforming them utterly and imparting a new social order. Male dominated and driven by a passion for conquest, they imposed The Blade as a new social norm. War became the highest accomplishment, with male domination an enduring social result. A whole new mythology was established with part of the story being the subjugation of women, domestic or conquered. We are operating under that mythology today, she insists.
As Eisler progresses from ancient to modern times, her tone becomes more strident, moving from research to propaganda. She admits early in the book that she's utilizing a method known as "active research" which re-examines historical and archeological data to fit her scenario. This, of course, is fraught with pitfalls, and she stumbles into several. The universality of her Goddess throughout the Neolithic world has no basis in evidence. She scorns the Willendorf "Venus" figurines, but avoids altogether the various cave painting sites predating them. Nearly all the human figures in those paintings are hunters; none appear to be female. While Minoan civilization did surprise many, there's not a shred of evidence to indicate male-female "partnership" as its basis. The weren't expansionist, but it's just as likely that it was deemed unnecessary or too costly. It is far more likely Minoan civilization arose from people fleeing other invaders and finding Crete a sanctuary. Perhaps her gravest misinterpretation arises as she tries to come to grips with the rise of Christianity. She sees the Madonna as a continuation of The Goddess ideal. Claiming the Roman Saturnalia, adopted by Christians as the Messiah's birthday, succeeded because that holiday was special to The Goddess. Saturn was a god of agriculture and patron of clan elders who imparted the wisdom of experience over winter fires. Any goddesses who were revered during the Solstice simply gained attention from the universality of the holiday.
Eisler's errors result from zealousness and a narrow view. Two major factors erode her credibility. One is her focus on the Mediterranean scene. She fails utterly to take into account other peoples around the world, where male domination is common, if not prevalent. This widespread circumstance suggests a deeper root for human social structure. However, like so many feminist writers, Eisler shares their abhorrence of biological foundations for gender differences. E. O. Wilson, a favourite target of feminist writers since his 1975 publication of Sociobiology, garners no mention in the text. He rates but a lengthy and disparaging footnote at the back of the book. Yet even when Eisler was composing this book, zoology and molecular genetics were already forcing grudging recognition of sociobiology's value in human studies. More recent research is confirming Wilson's early ideas.
Eisler's book has worth in seeking to break the militaristic and male domination mythology we live under. That her evidence is suspect doesn't devalue her desire to replace that social framework with greater emphasis on nurturing and sharing. If these values were given more emphasis in education, she contends, it would go far to reducing our injurious attitude toward the environment. She portrays advocates of The Goddess as recognizing the cyclic pattern of nature in contrast to the linear and destructive force of "progress." It's an admirable cause, written with clarity, but hollow in foundation. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book should be taught in schools., 21 July 2013
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This review is from: The Chalice and the Blade (Paperback)
Everyone should read this book. It is extremely informative without being too 'heavy' - would highly recommend this book - great read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, should be available in schools and libraries, 7 Mar. 2013
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Ms. G. Varjas (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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History told like you have never heard it before....
Book arrived on time but it is a second hand copy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 Aug. 2014
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W. D. Adam - See all my reviews
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:-)
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The Chalice and the Blade
The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler (Paperback - 1 Oct. 1998)
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