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Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People Hardcover – May 17 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 474 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (May 17 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520240731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520240735
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #258,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This brilliant and accessible work of biological criticism has the potential to revolutionize the way readers conceive of gender and sexuality in the natural world. Roughgarden, a professor of biology at Stanford University and a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, argues that the diversity of gender and sexuality one finds in many species suggests that evolutionary biologists of a strictly Darwinian bent are often misguided, since, according to Roughgarden, they erroneously assume a universally applicable gender binary in all species. The first half of the book brings that sexual diversity to light through innumerable examples among birds, reptiles, fish and mammals provided in highly readable anecdotes. The significance of this first section lies not only in this startlingly original portrait of nature, but also in how it suggests that contemporary Darwinian sexual selection theory is in part a result of cultural bias, since it "predicts that the baseline outcome of social evolution is horny, handsome, healthy warriors paired with discreetly discerning damsels." Roughgarden critiques this theory through an expansive study of biological scholarship, highlighting the frequent contradictions between such claims and the data used (and, she argues, manipulated) to prove them. The second and undoubtedly more controversial section discusses sexual diversity in humans. Taking as a given the presence in our own species of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual and intersex persons, she reads current scientific writing-on a supposed "gay gene," on gender reassignment and other issues-through a perspective that sees diversity as an advantage, not a handicap. Readers more accustomed to traditional categories of gender and sexuality in humans will undoubtedly be surprised at how different a portrait emerges from Roughgarden's deeply personal and insistently ethical point of view.
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Review

“A fascinating discussion about diversity in gender and sexuality in [the] living world.”
(Evelyne Bremond-Hoslet Mammalia 2011-01-01) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
All species have genetic diversity-their biological rainbow. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Ce livre se lit comme du bonbon tout en faisant comprendre de façon très claire à quel point la théorie de Darwin n'est pas basée uniquement basée sur la lutte mais aussi la coopération, ce dont je me doutais depuis toujours.

Très agréable à lire, et ce, même s'il s'agit d'infos scientifiques. bravo!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. F KRADEL on May 21 2004
Format: Hardcover
Roughgarden's convingly-argued case against the theory of sexual selection is long overdue, and the alternative she proposes -- social selection -- is intriguing. However, one is advised to approach the second half of the book with caution. Roughgarden is far too uncritical in her acceptance of sex differences research. Definitely read Fausto-Sterling, Tavris, and/or Hubbard before tackling this one.
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By Kate on Sept. 21 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Everyone should read this book It's written by a transgendered woman biologist named Joan roughgarden. Even if your not particularly interested in biology it's a must read.I learned so much from reading this book. She covers all the topics , homosexuality in animals, intersex animals and people, cloning. Did you know some fish species have 3 sexes? It's a fascinating book. I couldn't put it down. She also talks about how biological theories are often biased specifically Darwin's theory. I'm much more enlightened after reading this book.
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By saturdayxiii on Nov. 9 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My favorite book ever. Joan is always expanding my mind.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on July 2 2004
Format: Hardcover
I loved this clearly written, pioneering book. It's a perspective I've never read before, backed by lots of facts and reasonable logic. It's hugely broadening to read, and I'd recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in human beings.
I bought this fearing it would be too dry. I couldn't put it down.
One of the most intellectually stimulating books I've read in years.
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