As news of war and terror dominate the headlines, scientist Malcolm Potts and veteran journalist Thomas Hayden take a step back to explain why the world seems to be an increasingly dangerous place. Sex and War asks the basic questions: Why is war so fundamental to our species? And what can we do about it?
From the frontlines as a firsthand witness to war-torn countries around the world, Potts has worked with ministries and governments and in the trenches with women who have been raped and brutalized as an instrument of war. Combining his personal experience with the latest scientific findings, Potts explains that men have evolved under conditions that favored gang behavior, violence and team aggression, and observations of chimpanzee behavior confirm that these actions have been fundamental for millions of years.
In a world that spends $950 billion, there is hope. Females do not show the same inherent tendency toward violence and, instead, have evolved to favor negotiation and interpersonal bonds. Integrating women as full members of society is our best chance of shaping a more peaceful and stable world as we move further into the 21st century.
Sex and War combines startling scientific findings in primate behavior, anthropology, genetics and human evolution with fascinating personal stories and historical anecdotes. For anyone interested in the cycle of violence we are living in, or interested in the nature of mankind, Sex and War will be an illuminating work that will change how they see the world.
About the Authors
Dr. Malcolm Potts is the Fred H. Bixby Professor of Population and Family Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. He grew up in England during World War II and went to Cambridge University. Trained as an obstetrician and a research scientist, he has worked internationally for four decades. Professor Potts led a medical team into Bangladesh immediately after the War of Liberation in 1972, and his work has taken him to many other war-torn places including Vietnam and Cambodia, Afghanistan, Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Liberia and Angola. He has had a lifelong interest in history and archaeology, and he has written widely on the evolution of human sexuality in primate behavior. Having been moved by the courage and saddened by the pain of warfare he has asked many times, why do human beings behave like this? And, is there a way wars and terrorism can be made less common? His most recent books are Queen Victoria’s Gene and Ever Since Adam and Eve: The Evolution of Human Sexuality.
Thomas Hayden is a freelance journalist and writer with a special interest in science, medicine and culture. Formerly a staff writer at Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report, his articles and reviews have appeared in more than a dozen publications, including National Geographic, Nature and the Washington Post. He is also the co-author of On Call in Hell: A Doctor’s Iraq War Story, which was a national bestseller in 2007. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and fellow writer, Erika Check Hayden.