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The Chalice and The Blade by Riane Eisler

The Chalice and The Blade (1987)

by Riane Eisler

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A seminal, life-changing book. I cannot recommend it enough. Recent archaeology shows that during and before Crete (7000 to 3500 BC) we were a peaceful, nurturing, partnership society. Mostly vegan. Women had high status and often ruled. The great Goddess was worshipped.

Then the barbarians from the edges [like north of the Black Sea] invaded. They brought with them a dominator culture with warfare, slavery, meat eating, rule by men only and the dark ages. Women became property, like cattle. Our culture has been the same ever since.

Eisler makes a convincing argument that until we address women's issues, nothing else will improve. Similar arguments are made in _The World Peace Diet-, but he blames everything on the culture of eating meat. ( )
  Colby_Glass | Nov 20, 2015 |
Good message, poor messenger. She overuses words like "science," "evidence," and "theory" for what amounts to opinion. It's a wonderful, beautiful, insightful cohesive opinion (feminism), but the book is really just a 400 page essay against misogyny. I'd like to hear this message from a real scientist, talking about a Crete excavation, say. ( )
  Victor_A_Davis | Sep 18, 2015 |
A non-fiction 'changed my life' book. This is one of those bells that can't be unrung. ( )
  TFHetrick | Jan 2, 2015 |
Sometimes you are led to a book that literally changes how you look at the world. The Chalice and The Blade by Riane Eisler is that book for me. I had read Ishmael for the 2nd time this past weekend and this book was mentioned as part of the story. Since Ishmael was a story about how our “mother culture” inculcates us with certain prejudices and stories that we don’t question, as they are what they are, I had to read what was portrayed as a non-fiction look at the same issue.

As kids and adults we have this picture ingrained of pre-history that portrays males as club wielding barbarians, and women as submissive child bearing, dinner making slaves to men. What Eisler shows is that the reality is pre-history archaeological digs show that the female actually played a equal role in society that emanated a partnering or linking way of life. It wasn’t until the start of the agricultural revolution some 10,000 years ago that a cultural transformation began to shift from matrilineal (mother) to patrilineal (father) or plainly from a partnering society to a dominating society we still see today.
With research of new archaeological digs, to taking a second look at previous archeological records that have been disseminated under the guise of a male dominated world, you begin to question everything you’ve been taught and by the end of the book are ready to look at the world in an entirely new light. Don’t think this is a male bashing book, because it’s not. What it does is opens your eyes to how we never question why we don’t get taught (or at least taught very little) about any women in history, or why women in the bible (especially Old Testament) are portrayed as they are, or how looking at the history of humankind, during epochs of matrilineal times it is no coincidence that evidence shows a peaceful society focused on partnering or linking of people, while during the last 5000 years of patrilineal time, war is the norm, and we’re destructing our environment with a dominating cultural mindset. Instead of spending trillions on a military establishment, what if we had a cultural transformation that allowed us to focus those resources on the betterment of all peoples? Seems like a very good question to me. ( )
  azrowan | May 29, 2014 |
I guess it's a sign of how well these ideas have been disseminated since this book was published that I found nothing all that new to me here. (Or maybe it's just because I live in Northern California...)But it's always welcome to hear evidence that human history hasn't just been a straight line of organized violence from the African savannah to Pax Americana. ( )
  CSRodgers | May 3, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Riane Eislerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hassi, SatuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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my partner in life and work
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Preserved in a cave sanctuary for over twenty thousand years, a female figure speaks to us about the minds of our early Western ancestors.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description

This book opens a door. The key to unlock it was fashioned by many people and many books, and it will take many more to fully explore the vast vistas that lie behind it. But even opening this door a crack reveals fascinating new knowledge about our past - and a new view of our potential future.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0062502891, Paperback)

Some books are like revelations, they open the spirit to unimaginable possibilities. The Chalice and the Blade is one of those magnificent key books that can transform us and...initiate fundamental changes in the world. With the most passionate eloquence, Riane Eisler proves that the dream of peace is not an impossible utopia. -- Isabelle Allende, author of The House of the Spirits

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:38 -0400)

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