SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL WRITING 2023
A WATERSTONES BOOK OF YEAR FOR POLITICS 2023
‘I learned something new on every page of this totally essential book’ Sathnam Sanghera
‘By thinking about gendered inequality as rooted in something unalterable within us, we fail to see it for what it is: something more fragile that has had to be constantly remade and reasserted.’
In this bold and radical book, award-winning science journalist Angela Saini goes in search of the true roots of gendered oppression, uncovering a complex history of how male domination became embedded in societies and spread across the globe from prehistory into the present.
Travelling to the world’s earliest known human settlements, analysing the latest research findings in science and archaeology, and tracing cultural and political histories from the Americas to Asia, she overturns simplistic universal theories to show that what patriarchy is and how far it goes back really depends on where you are.
Despite the push back against sexism and exploitation in our own time, even revolutionary efforts to bring about equality have often ended in failure and backlash. Saini ends by asking what part we all play – women included – in keeping patriarchal structures alive, and why we need to look beyond the old narratives to understand why it persists in the present.
'This is an impressive, breathtaking and thought-provoking book which unwraps the concept and history of patriarchy with clear intellectual precision' Financial Times 'An urgent and necessary wake-up call of a book, teeming with research without being taut . . . The Patriarchs is a hopeful, essential read, not just for feminists, but for anyone with a stake in existence' Irish Times 'I learned something new on every page of this totally essential book. And for such a serious topic, I was surprised to be greatly entertained too. Angela is the best possible guide' Sathnam Sanghera, author of Empireland 'The Patriarchs is an optimistic book, therefore. Not least, it shows that more equal societies are possible and do thrive - historically, now and everywhere. Seeing things from other cultural perspectives really does reveal the way we live in a very different light' Guardian 'A rigorous and illuminating read' inews 'A deep and incisive look at the historical origins of patriarchal structures we are still fighting today. A must-read for every feminist' Rafia Zakaria, author of Against White Feminism 'This is a truly excellent, important and insightful book' Janina Ramirez, author of Femina 'Bold, incisive, and beautifully told, The Patriarchs is a truly riveting investigation into the origins and consequences of structural power. The depth and originality of Angela Saini's thought and research is breath-taking, and world-changing. A phenomenally important and deeply enjoyable book' Elinor Cleghorn, author of Unwell Women 'Saini brings sparkling intelligence to this debate. She is brilliant at ferreting out intriguing nuggets of information and synthesising them into a big but not over-simplified picture . . . How stirring it is to read such an optimistic view of our past and of our future' Observer
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