Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species

Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species

Maternal instinct--the all-consuming, utterly selfless love that mothers lavish on their children--has long been assumed to be an innate, indeed defining element of a woman's nature. But is it? In this provocative, groundbreaking book, renowned anthropologist (and mother) Sarah Blaffer Hrdy shares a radical new vision of motherhood and its crucial role in human evolution.

Hrdy strips away stereotypes and gender-biased myths to demonstrate that traditional views of maternal behavior are essentially wishful thinking codified as objective observation. As Hrdy argues, far from being "selfless," successful primate mothers have always combined nurturing with ambition, mother love with sexual love, ambivalence with devotion. In fact all mothers, in the struggle to guarantee both their own survival and that of their offspring, deal nimbly with competing demands and conflicting strategies.

In her nuanced, stunningly original interpretation of the relationships between mothers and fathers, mothers and babies, and mothers and their social groups, Hrdy offers not only a revolutionary new meaning to motherhood but an important new understanding of human evolution. Written with grace and clarity, suffused with the wisdom of a long and distinguished career, Mother Nature is a profound contribution to our understanding of who we are as a species--and why we have become this way.

Title:Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780345408938
Format Type:

    Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species Reviews

  • Meg

    A feminist Darwinian! Bring it on. If you want to know about the biology of motherhood, this is the book for you. True, it's kind of long and full of scientific and anthropological detail. But it's al...

  • Lynne Williamson

    All human animals should read this book about real (not Victorianized) maternal nature.Looking realistically at "mother nature:" For a human mother, the survival goal includes an evolved capability fo...

  • Cara Pulley

    This book. This frickin book. I love it. I love that it challenges our perceptions.I don't know why human society believes that women are all programmed to want to birth and nurture the kids. Perhaps ...

  • Pearl

    "Mother Nature" changed my life, bridging evolutionary theory, feminisim, and pragmatism in a way that touched a deep core in my beliefs. In the most mundane sense this book is interesting. Whether yo...

  • Alex

    This is a big book, and it requires a big review. There is so much I learned from it that I may struggle to get this review to resemble anything less than a rambling string of interesting facts and th...

  • Bob Nichols

    Drawing heavily from sociobiological theory and evolutionary psychology, Hrdy argues that (1) the mother at some deep level calculates the benefit/loss ratio that's involved in parental investment, an...

  • K Flewelling

    At 500+ pages, Mother Nature was the geekiest and least directly practical read that I undertook when I first became pregnant. It is an anthropological tome of motherhood from bees to birds to primate...

  • Susan

    If you want to scream every time some unenlightened jerk gives you some kind of "Men are from Mars" crap, then this is the book for you! Dispelling myths, bullcrap, and outright lies about the evoluti...

  • Sonja

    My bible. I read this book when I was pregnant with my second child - and was convinced by Blaffer Hrdy's arguments and facts. Nature is cruel, mother is not nature. Or mother is cruel, nature is not ...

  • Jennie

    abandoned it, but an excellent read...