Misogyny: The World's Oldest Prejudice
In this compelling, powerful book, the late Irish
journalist and essayist Jack Holland set out to answer a daunting question: how do you explain the oppression and
brutalization of half the world's population by the other half, throughout history? The result is an eye-opening
journey through centuries, continents and civilizations as it looks at both historical and contemporary attitudes
to women. Misogyny encompasses the Church, witch hunts, sexual theory, Nazism, pro-life campaigners, and finally,
today's developing world, where women are increasingly and disproportionately at risk because of radicalized religious
beliefs, famine, war, and disease.
Extensively researched, highly readable and provocative, this book chronicles an ancient, pervasive and enduring injustice. The questions it poses deal with the fundamentals of human existence — sex, love, violence — that have shaped the lives of humans throughout history, and ultimately limn an abuse of human rights on a nearly unthinkable scale.
Dana Stabenow, Alaska, November 8, 2006
I'm as surprised to report as I'm sure you are to read that this book is neither the downer nor the inciter to riot I was expecting. It's the history of the world's oldest and most determined prejudice written with clarity and humor, beginning with Pandora and ending with the Taliban. There are discoveries -- Did you know that the main reason Menelaus fought so hard to get Helen back was that he married her because she was his claim to his kingship? Face that launched a thousand ships, indeed. Did you know that in contemporary accounts it was rumored that Brutus was Julius Ceasar's bastard son? That explains a lot. St. Paul's remarks in Romans amount to "a declaration of war on the human body," and the marquis de Sade's fictional Juliette is "a sort of Tyrannosaurus Sex." The chapters on witch burning and the Holocaust are pretty horrifying, but then so were the events, and Holland's prose is so good it pulls you through to a conclusion not lacking in hope for a better future.
November 3, 2006 By Dory Green, NYC
Misogyny is a remarkable book, melding ancient philosophy, religion, sociology, literature, art, and politics. It was written by an Irish journalist who cared deeply about women, and it seamlessly brings together the elements and causes of the omnipresent patriarchal control of women by men over thousands of years throughout the world.
Misogyny is a remarkable book, melding ancient
philosophy, religion, sociology, literature, art, and politics. It was written by an Irish journalist who cared
deeply about women, and it seamlessly brings together the elements and causes of the omnipresent patriarchal control
of women by men over thousands of years throughout the world.
The relatively modest advancements for women in developed countries in recent decades are little cause for rejoicing when hundreds of millions of women and girls continue to suffer the most horrendous treatment: rape, child sexual slavery, and physical abuse; genital mutilation; forced marriage, child-bearing, and/or late-term abortion; lack of effective, affordable contraception; infanticide of unwanted female babies; exposure to HIV/AIDS from straying husbands and partners; poorer health and shortened life span; lack of education and control of family finances; public humiliation and even violent death for flouting male cultural demands including unreasonable clothing requirements; loss of hope and opportunities on all levels.
Present-day political and religious leaders do little to help the cause of women and girls. Jack Holland lays it all out from Aristotle to Darfur, from Plato to Hitler, from the past to the present and into the uncertain future. This is a book that finally exposes the inception of the domination and maltreatment of one gender by the other through the ages. It is a gem and ought to be required reading in all high schools and colleges AND for all legislators.
Our conduct toward others defines our characters. Men, take note. And for women who ignore the history of the fight for women's rights, those rights are fragile and fleeting, and your callous ignorance is dangerous to you and to those you love . Your rights, and those of your mothers, your sisters, and your daughters will always be in peril. Know this and take action. Begin by reading Jack Holland's incisive book.