Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on October 26, 2017.
I am thrilled someone has finally decided to explore the Native American side of the United States story. This is the spectral side of their story. The Indians had a hard way of life even before the White Man came along and tossed them off their lands and took away not only their livelihood but also their lives. In this book we get to explore how after death the Native's let their thoughts and feelings be known to early spiritualists. Native's have always believed in the spiritual side of life. This book will show you they were right. If you believe.
Kathryn Troy has done an outstanding job with this book. I was so into this book I couldn't put it down. This book gives you so much history, so much research, and so many point based facts. It is not over the top mind blowing though. She has written it all out with the perfect amount of information that it does not bog your brain down. The research she has done must have been astronomical. Everything in the book is backed up with documentation so you know this is not just her opinion of the facts. I love how she takes you back in time to the seance as it is happening. She lays it all out for you to the point your mind will actually take you the seance. You can feel the power around you.
I was given a copy of this book to read by the author for review.
This book had a lot of interesting information, but I can understand why Mari Ruti criticized the last few chapters in The Age of Scientific Sexism. It's like the authors forgot everything they had just been saying about women's sexuality in the previous few chapters and focused solely on men. That said, even if you don't agree with all of their conclusions (and they seem to make some assumptions about single-parent households being worse for children than married households, presumably focusing on the US and its lack of socialized childcare), the information presented is interesting and worth a ponder. Basically, they present a fair amount of information supporting the idea that lifelong monogamy isn't quite as "natural" with respect to human evolutionary history as we've been told and so we shouldn't feel that we're failures if we can't achieve it. That said, expecting lifestyles suited to hunter-gatherer cultures to mesh well with modern living may lead to disappointment as well (my own thought, not theirs).
"How evolutionary psychology promotes gender profiling and fans the battle of the sexes"
This isn’t a particularly light read but it’s a compulsively readable one. Ruti has read a number of the “popular” books concerning evolutionary psychology (as opposed to scientific publications although she cites some of those too), and presents an analysis of four of them. Ruti doesn’t have a scientific background but she’s analyzing the arguments put forward by popular science books and not criticizing the research methodology.* Although she only analyzes four in detail, she’s distilled the “standard narrative” from the many other books she's read and spends her time discussing how the individual books deviate from that standard narrative. Towards the end of her discussion, she does put forward some of her own opinions on sexuality, desire, and marriage but I don’t think that this detracts from her main arguments.
[* Ok, she may make a few criticisms of how some of the surveys are conducted, but they're basically common sense observations.]
There are unquestionably some moments during the read that Ruti’s frustration with the field is palpable, but I can certainly relate. The books she references are a mix of ones I will definitely avoid and ones that I plan to seek out. I think I expected more of a rant but it really was a fairly straightforward discussion of the points and arguments that the books actually presented and where the conclusions sometimes didn’t match those from the author’s academic papers. It’s an overview of the topic that helps to save the reader from slogging through quite so many books as Ruti did to get at the same information.
Some of the highlights (listed as I recall them) are that humans appear to be more promiscuous than the “standard narrative” allows and serial monogamy is a much more reasonable expectation than lifelong monogamy in most cases if monogamy is achievable at all. The “coy” female is basically patriarchal BS and there’s a theory that efforts to repress women’s sexuality only started at the dawn of agriculture. Although biological differences certainly exist, a lot of the gender differences that are bandied about can be explained through socialization and it’s impossible to determine where the effects of biology end and those of socialization start or vice versa. Oh, and the ideal of monogamous pair-bonding creates more stable workers and our society seems to value that over everything else.
I quite enjoyed it, so I think I’ll guardedly recommend it, as long as anyone picking it up realizes that it’s not as light a read as Inferior and they’ll actually be wading through arguments presented in other books.
174 of 193 pages
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