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Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray [Paperback]

Helen Fisher
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.95
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Book Description

Jan. 3 1994
"Captivates the reader, answers all those puzzling questions that caused your mother (or priest or guidance counselor or gym teacher) to blame God and/or hormones....Her prediction of a more open and egalitarian order provides a compelling--and hopeful--vision for the future."
Love at first sight...the copulatory gaze...dinner dates...jealousy... intimacy... homesexuality...infidelity...Dr.Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History, explains it all in this four-million-year history of the human species. She demystifies much about romance and pairing that we tend to believe is willfull or just plain careless. She offers new explanations for why men and women fall in love, marry, and divorce, and discusses the future of sex in a way that will surprise you.

Frequently Bought Together

Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray + Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love + Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love
Price For All Three: CDN$ 44.48

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Honest Look at Love Sept. 10 2003
As I biologist, I am constantly frustrated by the unscientific (and often ultra-philisophical) interpretation that goes on when considering humanity, and particularly love. This book took the extreme interest that exists about human sexuality and love, and places them in a scientific light, without necissarily demonizing or undermining the amazing feelings that go along with love; Fisher simply explains the science behind these amazingly rich and powerful feelings in an attempt to better know ourselves.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but deeply flawed June 3 2004
Dr. Fisher is to be congratulated for trying to extend our understanding of the mechanisms through which we experience the various forms of love she enumerates, and for trying to see beyond the trite social codes that are normally accepted at face value as received wisdom. But sadly her efforts are compromised by two fatal flaws. The first, and merely annoying, flaw is the inevitable requirement that a working academic must genuflect to the gods of Political Correctness. So after an interesting chapter that basically demonstrates we're unable to control ourselves when in the throes of strong emotion, she then makes the glib assertion that in fact we can and should control ourselves and never become stalkers etc. Dr. Fisher may herself believe in the moral "correctness" of this assertion but it is wholly unsupported by her work and therefore has no place in a would-be scientific book.
The far more serious flaw in the book is that Dr. Fisher, as she searches for explanations for some of the more dramatic mechanisms acting within us, seems utterly to misunderstand the rudiments of the theory of evolution. She posits all kinds of "evolutionary" forces that simply could never exist. She does not grasp that selection forces can only operate in the present and can never operate for some notional effect in the distant future. Evolution is simply not teleological, but this understanding eludes Dr. Fisher and so her "explanations" end up being silly and implausible.
So, what we have here is basically a work that provides a few tantalising glimpses into the biochemistry of emotions, yet fails to take more than the first baby-steps. It is greatly to be hoped that a more thoughtful and rigorous account will one day be written by some other researcher operating in this important area of study.
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1.0 out of 5 stars High hopes not fulfilled May 3 2004
By A Customer
To be fair, if I had read this book when it was first published in 1992, I would probably have given it a better review. One of the problems of this book is that it is now 2004, and this book is showing its age. To a certain degree, this is inevitable for a book that was on the cutting edge of a new and exciting field when it was published, but this is exacerbated by the highly speculative nature of the book. Fisher takes some basic ideas from the research of the time, and then uses them to indulge in speculation (in my opinion often wildly and excessively). Whole portions of the book (for example, the chapter on Neanderthals) have been rendered largely obsolete by more recent discoveries.
I was often concerned at the lack of supporting evidence that Fisher presented for many of her assertions. In fairness, I didn't read the end notes, but there were many times when I looked for a supporting reference and none was provided, leading me to question whether what I was reading was based on any sort of sound research.
Finally, I was also disappointed in the quality of the writing. On the whole, the prose lacked elegance, and there were a few times when the author's meaning became entirely unclear, due to ambiguous sentance construction. Contrdictory statements sometimes followed one after another.
I must say that, in spite of my criticism, I did appreciate some of Fisher's ideas, and the book has certainly helped to deepen my understanding of this topic. Unfortunately, I was left with the feeling that there must be someone else out there who would better provide this fascinating material with the presentation that it deserves.
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1.0 out of 5 stars gold digging is hard wired June 7 2003
What's her message? Basically how women need men and men
need women.Ok,how? Women need men to love and profide for
them.Men need women to aspire them to greater achievement
since in Fisher's world,men are the force and source of
all material gain and dependency for women.
Love is not a spiritual connection,but more of a I'll
put out if you build me a house and be the father of my
The writer tells us in a preachy way how we are all
controlled by "hard wiring" in very "different brains"
and how hormones run our very exsistance.
She overlooks all cultural sterotypes which have a great
influence on behavior and preaches relentlessly about
brain structure and hormones to neauseum.
Experience makes connections in brains,but try telling her
that.It's her way or the highway.
The book does nothing for women.It reinforces the old
gold digging sterotypes about women,and the old sex
crazed sterotypes about men.She tries to present these
sterotypes as hard wired and fixed in human society from
years of evolution.Evolutionary psychology is a new
theory which implies basically - we are our ancestors -
and are not our own entities,but products of years of
evolution.Men evolved for spatial tasks and women for
verbal.What she does not say is how this happened.And how
can anyone truly know how our ancestors behaved.Was she
there with them thousands of years ago? Doubt it!
Some women might find this book enlightening,especially
if they want to defend their gold digging as hard wired.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars First steps in anatomy of love are important...
Helen Fisher's scientific approach to the study of love is admirable. However, after reading this book, I have more of a feeling of attending Gunter von Hagens' exposition "The... Read more
Published on Dec 26 2010 by Anastasia Prozorova
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This book has given me an entirely new outlook on life and myself. It is amazing how this book was able to erase years of shame pressed upon me by society.
Published on March 28 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost 10 years old and I'm still talking about it.
Helen Fisher tackles an extraordinarily important but seldom scientifically scrutinized aspect of human existence; love. Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2004 by Christian Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Love is not just love
Helen is able to lead you into a new fascinating world; the roots of a feeling most unknown called love. Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2003 by Albert Paul Dahoui
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, accessible book
I found this book completely engrossing. Her detailed explanations of human evolution and her logical, clearly thought out and well-supported hypothesis about early sexual... Read more
Published on April 10 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest and refreshing view of love and sex
As a scientist (chemist) I enjoy reading science books in other diciplines. Fishers' book was well written and researched, a joy to read. Read more
Published on March 13 1999 by Kevin Spoering
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Love is Explained Clearly
Through a careful analysis of a vast archive of anthropological and psychological research, Dr. Fisher constructs a cpmprehensive theory that explains why we love, how it happens,... Read more
Published on July 5 1997
4.0 out of 5 stars Evolutionary stories about love, science and speculation
Love was once a popular topic for scientists. It lost popularity for a while as a 'fuzzy' and perhaps even unknowable topic of study. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 1997 by Todd I. Stark
4.0 out of 5 stars Love is explained by evolution, and its mighty interesting.
A fascinating study of human mating behaviors, written from a non-judgmental,
scientific point, "Anatomy" is a satisfying alternative to the ubiquitous self-help manual. Read more
Published on Aug. 14 1996
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