Origins and History of the Passions of War
A New York Times Notable Book
An ALA Notable Book
“Original and illuminating.” —The Washington Post
What draws our species to war? What makes us see violence as a kind of sacred duty, or a ritual that boys must undergo to “become” men? Newly reissued in paperback, Blood Rites takes readers on an original journey from the elaborate human sacrifices of the ancient world to the carnage and holocaust of twentieth-century “total war.”
Ehrenreich sifts deftly through the fragile records of prehistory and discovers the wellspring of war in an unexpected place — not in a “killer instinct” unique to the males of our species, but in the blood rites early humans performed to reenact their terrifying experiences of predation by stronger carnivores.
Brilliant in conception and rich in scope, Blood Rites is a monumental work that continues to transform our understanding of the greatest single threat to human life.