978-0-521-64404-4 / 0521644046

Ever since Adam and Eve: The Evolution of Human Sexuality

by Potts, Malcolm

Publisher:Cambridge University Press



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About the book:

"Many people have sex in mind a great deal of the time." Authors Malcolm Potts and Roger Short spent more than 15 years trying to understand and explain these passions. While not fully embracing biological determinism--that destiny is simply written in the genes--Potts and Short believe that evolutionary biology can help explain human behavior. In this book they focus on milestones in life's cycle, such as love, marriage, sex, pregnancy, birth, parenting, divorce, and death. Each of these complex behaviors is studied in turn and analyzed for its biological foundations and centuries of cultural modifications. Nearly 100 illustrations lend support to the authors' theories, and dozens of fascinating sidebars go into greater depth about everything from Siamese twins and cloning to wet-nursing and Viagra.

The book is not without its flaws: the authors' belief that most behaviors are biologically based leads them to make sexist conclusions at times--for example, they argue that a woman's interest in sports must primarily stem from a desire to please her man. They also maintain that evolutionary biology can suggest solutions to some of our most difficult problems, without suggesting what these solutions (or, indeed, problems) may be. That said, the authors do an excellent job of teasing out the twisted strands of nature and nurture that make us who we are. Though scholars may find the lack of footnotes frustrating, Ever Since Adam and Eve will pique the interest of educated readers. --C.B. Delaney

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