L.S. Klepp
June 13, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Blood Rites

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Barbara Ehrenreich
genre
Essays

We gave it an A

Barbara Ehrenreich, an essayist for Time, deserves a medal for simultaneously taking on the charged subjects of war and religion. The array of fascinating historical and anthropological detail presented in Blood Rites would make for a worthy read even if there were no persuasive argument to offer. But Ehrenreich’s basic case is an enticing one. She believes battle evokes ritualistic feelings that can be traced back to that fateful prehistoric moment when humans, having developed effective weapons, were transformed from prey into predators, and to the subsequent rise of religions that demanded human and animal sacrifices to beastlike gods. After reading this book you will never feel the same about war, theology, or your cat. A

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