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A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion Paperback – 20 Jun 2001

3.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press; New Ed edition (20 Jun. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262700832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262700832
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

In the past three decades the notion that rape is a crime of misogynistic violence rather than of misguided lust has gone from being a cutting-edge feminist theory to being an accepted criminological fact. So widespread and pervasive is this view of rape, accepted by politicians, judges and educators alike, to challenge it is to risk academic ostracism.

Now two American biologists, Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer, have risked precisely that. Their carefully weighed thesis is that rape is not the culturally learned behaviour of conditioned woman-haters, rather it is a Darwinian adaptation, an instinctive behaviourism typical of males (of many species) seeking to mate and propagate with otherwise unavailable fertile young females. In other words, rape IS sexual.

Predictably, this theory has caused outrage. Feminist lawyers says it gives rapists a "genetic excuse"; feminist academics say it ignores male-on-male rape, and rape of non-fertile females. In response to such expected critiques Thornhill and Palmer have adduced a persuasive mass of evidence from fields as diverse as zoology, psychology and haute couture. And the facts are truly curious. Did you know that women dress more skimpily during ovulation?

This is not a flawless text. It is too reductive. The writing is thick with scientific jargon: you should know the meanings of 'morphological' and 'phenotype' before you start. And sometimes the book becomes a bit of a rant against the "closed minds" of its politically correct opponents. But maybe that is to quibble too much: this is still an exhilarating and exciting book; it is also a very courageous attempt to throw some scientific light on a treacherously murky subject. --Sean Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

-- Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of "How the Mind Works" and "Words and Rules"

" This is a courageous, intelligent, and eye-opening book with a noble goal -- to understand and eliminate a loathsome crime. Armed with logic and copious data, Thornhill and Palmer will force many intellectuals to decide which they value more: established dogma and ideology, or the welfare of real women in the real world." -- Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of "How the Mind Works" and "Words and Rules"

& quot; This is a courageous, intelligent, and eye-opening book with a noble goal -- to understand and eliminate a loathsome crime. Armed with logic and copious data, Thornhill and Palmer will force many intellectuals to decide which they value more: established dogma and ideology, or the welfare of real women in the real world.& quot; -- Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of How the Mind Works and Words and Rules

"This is a courageous, intelligent, and eye-opening book with a noble goal--to understand and eliminate a loathsome crime. Armed with logic and copious data, Thornhill and Palmer will force many intellectuals to decide which they value more: established dogma and ideology, or the welfare of real women in the real world."--Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of "How the Mind Works" and "Words and Rules"

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