This pioneering work, originally published in 1972, was the first to argue irrefutably the equal role of women in human evolution.
At the core of Morgan's theory is the idea that women played an equal (or possibly superior) role in human evolution, and were NOT just submissive second-class childbearers while the "strong and brave hunter men" ("Tarzanists") were shaping the evolution of the species. In presenting her case, Morgan draws heavily on the Aquatic Ape Theory (first presented by Sir Alister Hardy in the 1920's) for explanations of how humans moved from the trees to walking upright, how they became hairless, the development of speech, and the physiological factors that make us radically different from other primates.
The book doesn't portray the male half of humanity in a very favorable light-- which, in itself, I don't really have a problem with. However, the tone of the writing sometimes crosses the line from scientific to slightly condescending and "preachy," and in doing so, the work perhaps loses a bit of credibility from a scientific standpoint-- almost as if the author couldn't quite decide between "Science" and "Feminism." Nonetheless, Morgan should be commended for questioning male-centric evolutionary theories put forth by a historically male-dominated scientific community, and readers should not lose sight of the fact that she is more of an "outsider" than a member of the "establishment.Read more ›