In this compelling, powerful book, highly respected writer and commentator Jack Holland sets 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 takes the listener on an eye-opening journey through centuries, continents, and civilizations as it looks at both historical and contemporary attitudes to women.
Encompassing the Church, witch hunts, sexual theory, Nazism and pro-life campaigners, we arrive at today's developing world, where women are increasingly and disproportionately at risk because of radicalised religious belief, famine, war and disease. Well-informed and researched, highly readable and thought-provoking, this is no outmoded feminist polemic: It's a refreshingly straightforward investigation into an ancient, pervasive, and enduring injustice. It deals with the fundamentals of human existence - sex, love, violence - that have shaped the lives of humans throughout history.
The answer? It's time to recognize that the treatment of women amounts to nothing less than an abuse of human rights on an unthinkable scale. A Brief History of Misogyny is an important and timely book that will make a long-lasting contribution to the efforts to improve those rights throughout the world.
Jack Holland was a highly respected author and journalist known particularly for his commentary about Northern Irish politics. He grew up in Belfast (where he was taught by Seamus Heaney) and worked with Jeremy Paxman and other outstanding journalists at BBC Belfast during a period of seminal current affairs programming. Jack published four novels and seven works of non-fiction, most of the latter having to do with politics and terrorism in Northern Ireland, including the best-selling Phoenix. Sadly, Jack died of cancer in 2004, just after the manuscript of Misogyny had been delivered and accepted by his US publisher. On his death, his family received letters of respect from statesmen including Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton, who had come to rely on his balanced analysis of Irish politics.
©2013 Jack Holland (P)2013 Audible Ltd
"Jack Holland's Misogyny, an invaluable addition...meticuously researched and briskly related." (Sunday Times,)
Lately, I've been reading a lot of theory and anthropology so I thought some history might be a nice change of pace. Early on, this book felt like yet another recitation of the wrongs against women. But as the book goes on, I was more and more drawn into not only the recurrent themes throughout history the author uncovers, but also how mercilessly he calls out misogyny in all aspects of history. I'd honestly never heard a feminist critique of the Third Reich, or Shakespeare being boldly called a misogynist. It's given me a lot of food for thought. Please give this a listen if you're interested in women's place throughout history!!!
First off, this is an important book that everyone -- particularly men -- should read. It does a good job revealing the long, grizzly history of misogyny, a necessary endeavor given how often the purported inferiority of women is taken for granted even in contemporary Western culture. It is often so disturbing that I imagine it would scare a lot of casual sexists into reexamining their views, were it incorporated into, say, a high school curriculum.
There are some shortcomings. For one, any history that begins with the kindling of Western civilization and proceeds to the present in a mere 10 hours is going to be somewhat generalized at times. Some of the bits on Greek and Roman history tends to treat these as somewhat more homogenous than might a book specifically about one of those topics, for instance.
The concluding chapter may be divisive among feminist listeners because it comes down on the side of there being innate differences between men and women, and claims that to deny this is to deny part of women's humanity. Holland's justifications for this view are unsatisfying, and I question the need for such a book to espouse any opinion on this matter -- the thesis feels tacked on to what is otherwise a brilliant work of research and observation.
As a male, and a Caucasian male at that, I have unjustified privilege stolen from women and non-Caucasians over millennia, even though I am not wealthy, and despite my deliberately trying not to exercise this privilege. In this book, the author eloquently makes the case for this historical atrocity, puts it in context, and suggests how we humans might begin making a better world for all of us. Listening to it, I have renewed motivation to do what I can to help, or at least, to avoid setting back the positive start that some have made, including this author.
This book offers an fierce and sound review of the movement of the ever-present prejudice held by man against his female co-human, as well as the many times this prejudice has turned women against their own, co-opting some in the war against their own sister-kind.
Fine, exemplary work of the highest order.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
A woman’s rights have been a moving target since the beginning of time; or at least since the beginning of recorded “history”. Jack Holland tracks “The World’s Oldest Prejudice”, misogyny (a human prejudice against women). Holland’s conflation of the horrors of Nazism with societal misogyny is hyperbolic. However, the truth of women’s domination, abuse, and murder by men is solid when Holland recounts the evidence of government practices, religious doctrines, philosophical treatises, science errors, and corroborated historical events.
As far back as the oldest laws of government written by a Sumerian King in 2,050 BC, women have been singled out with human rights’ violations. An example is the King’s law that particularly applies to women who speak insolently. They are to have their mouths scoured with salt; i.e. a law applying only to women slaves. Of course the law begs the question of why women are slaves.
Misogyny is a cancer in the body politic. Regulated freedom and equal opportunity are its cure. The diversity of human life demands equal opportunity for all. This does not mean everyone is equal but that each should be able to achieve what they are capable of achieving. Regulated freedom is a necessity because human beings are motivated by money, power, and prestige; each of which can lead to greed, corruption, and hubris. All human beings are subject to the same vices. All men and women should have an equal right to say yes or no to greed, corruption, and hubris. Holland’s point is that women do not have the same rights as men because of centuries of cultural bias.
Yeah, that's what I think. Live with it.
The book makes clear the nature of the process that makes every woman double discriminated. That is, in every hated group there is another hated group: the women in that group.
It is very clear that we will never be able to resolve any other form of prejudice until we have resolved this one.
Read, pass it on.
Note: There is some language in this book that some may find unpleasant. It is the nature of misogyny that some people and surely some parents will complain that they do not want exposure to these words, completely overlooking fact that those "bad" words are used in our culture to describe women. There are also some descriptions of things done to women that are quite disturbing. And again some will complain about the graphicness those descriptions while ignoring the fact that those things were actually done to the women in those scenes. As if we should talk about the mutilation of the genitals of 10 year old girls in words that don't upset us quite so much.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I found this to be an interesting book. I had never thought of the history of prejudice before reading this. It would be great if this were expanded to include all types of prejudices. I am not sure a book about the history of prejudice would prevent or change a person’s mind but would be interesting to understand more about prejudice.
Holland says he attempted to explain the oppression and brutalization of half the world’s population by the other half, throughout history. I found Holland’s explanation of the use of religion to suppress women most interesting. I had no idea how many women had been killed as witches over the course of history. Prior to reading this book I was aware that many cultures killed female babies at birth.
The book is well written and well researched. I found his analysis most interesting and agreed with him on equal rights. I just do not have great hopes that prejudice will disappear. I think this is a must read book for everyone. Should be discussed in high school or even sooner than that.
Cameron Stewart does a good job narrating the book. He is an award winning actor who also narrates audiobooks.
I have friends who are women, and this has really given me a greater appreciation for the struggles women go through, not just in present day US, but in different cultures, spanning centuries. Misogyny seems to be the one thing most cultures have in common. Goddamn.
I got this with the Clinton/Trump race in mind. What I found was a moving and enlightening account of what he calls the world's oldesr prejudice. Top flight narration.
it brought to light the monstrous injustices woman have suffered over the last 2500 years
i liked that despite being relatively well read. i was unaware of most of these facts
clear and intelligent narration
"A dissection of female oppression"
The investigation into the treatment of women during the time of Ancient Greece which revealed the surprisingly relative freedom of the Spartan women compared with their Athenian sisters!
Cameron Stewart's narration is excellent as his voice is warm and really brings the story to life.
This book is one of the best I have read about the treatment of women throughout the ages and one of the author's main contentions that societies where men largely outnumber women leads to increased oppression is very convincing. The investigation covers a vast range of historical, cultural and religious attitudes towards women which is most impressive and it is refreshing that this book was written by a man. The introduction concerning the author is extremely moving.
"Why do we need women?"
Fantastic author, good book, marvellous narrator. I found this book so absorbing I forgot to make as many notes as I usually do. I would recommend this title to anyone and will definitely be listening to it again.
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