Barbara Ehrenreich
Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War

In Blood Rites, renowned social critic Barbara Ehrenreich confronts a subject that has challenged thinkers from Homer to Freud: What draws our species to war and even makes us see it as a kind of sacred undertaking? Sifting through the fragile records of prehistory, Ehrenreich discovers the wellspring of war in an unexpected place - not in a "killer instinct" unique to the males of our species, nor in our Paleolithic hunting tradition, but in the blood rites early humans performed to reenact their terrifying experience of predation by stronger carnivores.

It is in these ancient blood rites that Ehrenreich finds the first form of organized, socially sanctioned violence - and the spiritual antecedent of war. Moving into historical time, Ehrenreich traces the evolution of war from the sacred undertaking of a privileged warrior caste to the central rite of the mass religion we know today as nationalism and shows the persistence of ancient fears in the most modern rituals and passions of war.

An excellent interview with Barbara, regarding this book, can be found in the Winter 1997/1998 Free Inquiry magazine.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of many books. Her articles have appeared in a wide range of publications, including the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, Esquire, Ms., The Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, the New Republic, Vogue, and the Wall Street Journal. She is currently an essayist for Time magazine.

In 1992 Ehrenreich was a National Magazine Finalist. In 1989, she was named a National Book Critics Circle Award Nominee, and was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1987. Ms. Ehrenreich received a Ford Foundation Award for Humanistic Perspectives on Contemporary Society in 1982 and shared the National Magazine Award for Excellence in Reporting in 1980.

In addition to being known for her writing, Ehrenreich is also widely known as a public speaker on social issues and a frequent radio and television talk-show guest. She has lectured throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, and has appeared on dozens of national television shows, including "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "Nightline," and "The Phil Donahue Show."

She holds a Ph.D. in biology from Rockefeller University and a B.A. in chemistry and physics from Reed College. She lives in New York City and Key West, Florida.