Woman’s Evolution: From Matriarchal Clan to Patriarchal Family

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    Evelyn Reed

    Publisher: Pathfinder Press

    Year: 1975

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 491 pages

    ISBN: 9780873484220

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Evelyn Reed takes us on an expedition through prehistory from cannibalism to culture—and uncovers the world of the ancient matriarchy. Tracing the origins of the “incest taboo,” blood rites, marriage, and the family, she reveals women’s leading and still largely unknown contributions to the development of civilization.

By pinpointing the relatively recent factors that led to pervasive discrimination against women as a sex, she offers fresh insights on the struggle against women’s oppression and for the liberation of humanity. Reed refutes the myth that “human nature” is to blame for the wars, greed, and inequalities of class-divided societies.

What People Are Saying

“Helped me understand anthropology from a woman's point of view.” Ms.

“A truly monumental piece of scholarship....A total rethinking of evolutionary (social) anthropology.” Canadian Newsletter of Research on Women

“How important it is to women today that the myth of eternal and preordained patriarchy be exploded. And at last we have a good solid real woman anthropologist to do it.” —Kate Millet, author, Sexual Politics

“Deftly takes on some of the most quoted experts in cultural anthropology and sociology and shatters their premises about women….There is a real need for this book….The volume is not only recommended, it cannot be ignored.” Curriculum Advisory Services

“This is a fascinating and scholarly book; useful in sociology and anthropology courses and to any woman needing encouragement about the contributions of her sex to history.” American Association for the Advancement of Science

“[An] absorbing anthropological dig.” Minneapolis Tribune

“I have never been so engrossed or excited by anything I’ve read. How proud I am of our sex and of Evelyn Reed for working so hard to reveal our true history.…Required reading.” —Dr. Barbara Roberts, founder of Women’s National Abortion Action Coalition

“Certain to become a classic text in women’s history…lucid and absorbing reading.” Publishers Weekly

“Spiritedly challenges her opponents to stand up and be counted.”
Guardian (London)

“An outstanding effort to account for many of the discrepancies found in the patterns of social evolution as delineated by many of the traditional anthropologists.…Stimulating and readable, and important for anyone interested in the women’s movement as well as anthropology.” KLIATT

“Persuasive, exciting, highly readable: I am happy to recommend it....An engrossing book, and its theory linking oppression to property is immeasurably more satisfying than theories linking oppression to childbearing.” The Spokeswoman

“Woman’s Evolution spells out the long process in clear step-by-step terms.” Majority Report

“A brilliant and fascinating refutation of patriarchy’s favorite historical error.” WIN magazine

“A joyous inspiration to read and a celebration of our essential humanity in a addition to being a major contribution to the field of anthropology.” MAKARA

“A self-evident classic in the literature on women’s role in history.” Aftonbladst (Evening Sheet, Stockholm)

“An excellent addition to libraries with collections in anthropology and women’s studies.” Reprint Bulletin Book Reviews

“Fresh and convincing....An odyssey through centuries of changing human culture....Fantastic wealth of fascinating detail on human cultural practices.” Unitarian-Universalist World

“Gives women an understanding of their past and will enable them to move forward into the future with confidence.” Undercurrents

“I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in finding out how the first advancements of mankind really came about.” Newsletter (London)

“Painstakingly researched and fascinating history.” WomanSource Catalog and Review

“Demolishes the assumption…that civilization is synonymous with patriarchy.…[S]hows in detail the significant role women played in civilizing the species.…It will bolster women’s courage to move forward toward a future in which the sisterhood and brotherhood present in prehistoric culture is once again the basis for human social organization.”Twin Cities Chapter NOW Newsletter

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