Four millennia of recorded history seem to prove beyond question that war is inevitable. This book refutes that conclusion.
It explains the biological basis of war and describes essential and achievable steps needed to foster lasting peace. This fresh, unique approach rests not on arm-chair philosophy or wishful thinking but on a solid biological foundation.
Using fields as diverse as anthropology, primatology, social history, neurophysiology, and evolutionary biology she builds a convincing argument for the role women must play in partnership with men to convert the dream of a peaceful future into reality. It presents, for the first time, a social stability hypothesis that relates to, among other things, distaste for war -- that women are adapted much more strongly than are men to use behavior that facilitates maintaining social stability in the places where they are raising children.
Section 1 - Biology. How does biology relate to behavior (how do genes relate, if at all, to observed gender differences in behavior and behavioral preferences/tendencies?). Relevant facts from genetics and gender differences in brain structures and behavior, including a cross-cultural perspective, are reviewed. How has evolution for reproductive success resulted in men and women having some significantly different responses to social life choices and to the use of physical violence? In particular, that in general women have a much stronger preference for social stability than men do. The page “Sexual Dimorphism” on this website covers much of the same material.
Section 2 - A Powerful, Creative Civilization Without War - Is That Possible? How does culture influence observed behavior? This section includes a consideration of what is known of the Minoan civilization and six factors which might have enabled such a sophisticated culture to exist without war. It introduces concepts around the issue of possible ancient matriarchies, including the likelihood that humans have never created one.
Section 3 - Regulating Social Behavior. Points out the role of shunning, a negative force to prevent dominance behavior in egalitarian societies. Presents a "sacred-sex hypothesis" as a potentially positive force in regulating social conflict by a consideration of the possible use of sex by the Minoans, the use of sex as a binding force and a conflict-reducing force in bonobos, the example of the Canela of South America, and the tradition of sacred prostitution in Greece.
Section 4 - Women and Warfare. What is the relationship of women to war, including women as leaders and women as warriors? This section briefly describes the relationship between having control of basic essential resources and social power, and that with the onset of the agricultural revolution the dyanamics of power relations between the sexes shifted, with women over time loosing power. It looks at the relationship of women to war, at the conditions under which they can and will fight...that they are not pacifists by nature. A historical review of female leaders indicates that women typically fight in defense rather offense, and historically compared to men have not launched wars of aggression. Women are much more strongly geared emotionally than men to behave to avoid physical conflict and to preserve social stability. Section 5 - Waging Peace - The concept of “hidden females"--the tendency of patriarchies to ignore women in many spheres of life, especially public affairs--has serious consequences when trying to figure out how to abolish war. A case is made that women have virtually been entirely excluded from decision-making about war and peace for many millennia, and ignored as a subject of study. An example of research on baboons illustrates than when the behavior of half of a species is ignored, in our case women, there can be no understanding of that species, including why humans make war and what it will take to end the practice. That any hope of abolishing war must include the empowerment of women as partners with men in decision-making and leadership, not only concerning war, but many other social issues as well. A critique of Francis Fukuyama's book, The End of History and the Last Man, points out its serious flaw...no consideration of the role of women in societies, including liberal democracies. Final passages consider how young men fit into the picture of war, and the role of women in other aspects of social life: education, religion, politics. The book ends with speculation about what a world full of empowered women might look like and a plea for an embrace of male/female balance in governing our lives.
Dr. Hand has long been an important contributor to our thinking about relationships between males and females and the evolution of communication behavior. It's good to see her turn her attention and skills to the question of aggression and why males and females respond differently. This book is an important and thoughtful contribution to the literature on male/female dynamics. Raymond Pierotti, Ph.D. - Professor of Ecolutionary Ecology, University of Kansas
Everybody speculates, in general, philosophically, if Homo sapiens will ever be free from war. This is the first time anybody has actually figured out, specifically, biolgically, how we might avoid war and its horrors in the future. A. B. Curtiss, Author of Depression is a Choice, and Brainswitch.