A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural SelectionBook - 1999
We are tempted to think of maternal instinct as a quality a woman has or lacks. But the belief that mothers instinctively nurture their offspring--one of the West's most cherished ideals and a view widely accepted even in scientific circles--has become increasingly controversial. Mother Nature presents a radical new way of understanding how mothers act and why, and how this new understanding is changing the way scientists think about how evolution works. Drawing on anthropology, history, literature, developmental psychology, and animal behavior, Sarah Hrdy examines the distinct biological and genetic elements that constitute maternal instinct. She strips away the biases implicit in conventional stereotypes of female nature to give us very different and provocative perspectives on maternal ambivalence, the links between maturity and ambition, mother love and sexual love, and why age-old tensions between the sexes persist--and are being played out today in efforts to control women's reproductive choices. Combining decades of research with her own experience as a mother, Hrdy makes clear in this remarkable book what it means--from a historical and evolutionary perspective--to be a mother and explains how this knowledge has transformed our understanding of human development and behavior.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c1999
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: xix, 723 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm