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A Brief History to Misogyny: The World's Oldest Prejudice

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,636 ratings  ·  191 reviews
The first book to chronicle humanity's oldest prejudice: that against its feminine half

In this compelling, powerful book, highly respected writer and commentator Jack Holland sets out to answer a daunting question: how do you explain the oppression and brutalization of half the world's population by the other half, throughout history?

The result takes the reader on an eye-
Kindle Edition, 338 pages
Published June 7th 2012 by Robinson (first published 2006)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  1,636 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Kara Babcock
How many people have sat down one day and said, "Gee, I think I need to learn more about the history of misogyny!"? I did! I saw my coworker reading this and expressed interest in it. Unfortunately, I don't think the brief part of A Brief History of quite sank in at the time ... I was expecting something a bit more....

For anyone largely uninitiated into gender issues or the history of misogyny, I would recommend this book as a good read. Holland is a good writer, and he covers the subject compre
Apr 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**Warning--this is a LONG review but I wanted to remember some of the important parts of this book that had meaning to me, so I explain and quote in detail here.**

Although I feel the writing in this book could use a bit more editing and refining (according to the intro, the author died and his family worked to get this published, so that may be why it is a little rough), I found the topic to be fascinating. This book really is a "brief" history of misogyny--and yet, although I know the author co
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can a history of misogyny ever be brief? This book is in some way a well-articulated examination of characteristics of Western civilisation, its culture and heritage. Jack Holland is travelling through time and states that “the sense of woman as ‘the Other’, the antithesis of man, emerges powerfully from the dramas.” While “Greek misogyny is based on fears of what women might do if they were free to do it”, he compares it with the Romans, who “inherited the Greek preoccupation with female virtue ...more
Kater Cheek
This book was really hard to listen to. As a feminist (feminist=person who believes that women are human beings entitled to full human rights) it was hard to listen to the litany of horrific abuses levied against women over the centuries, across all cultures and continents, to punish them for not being men.

The stories aren’t just horrific, they’re repetitious. Women are too close to nature, therefore they are evil, lock them up. Women are too pretty, punish them for wearing cosmetics or bright
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was a fairly interesting run-through about the hatred of women though I found it lacking in historical scope. The notion that misogyny originates in Greece is rather ridiculous. I tire of histories that travel up the Fertile Crescent, to Greece, to the Dark Ages of Europe, to England, and finally to America while presenting the rest of the world (Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, et cetera) as though they exist in this ahistorical vacuum in which nothing ever changes. Where did their misogy ...more
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be an interesting book. I had never thought of the history of prejudice before reading this. It would be great if this were expanded to include all types of prejudices. I am not sure a book about the history of prejudice would prevent or change a person’s mind but would be interesting to understand more about prejudice.

Holland says he attempted to explain the oppression and brutalization of half the world’s population by the other half, throughout history. I found Holland’s expl
Sep 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice by Jack Holland

“Misogyny” is a powerful and riveting book about the cruel and crude history of misogyny. The late Jack Holland delivers an important book, an eye-opening book that at times is very uncomfortable to read but the knowledge is appreciated. This 320-page book is composed of the following nine chapters: 1. Pandora’s Daughters, 2. Women at the Gates: Misogyny in Ancient Rome, 3. Divine Intervention: Misogyny and the Rise of Christianity, 4. From Q
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A clear, well-researched, erudite history. I found myself nodding and agreeing with Mr Holland's conclusions, and thanking whichever deity happened to be listening that he had written this book. If anyone doubts that misogyny exists, or that worldwide political, social, economic, religious and cultural groups are inherently sexist, they should read this and think again. How is it possible that the oppression of women is still allowed to continue? Why do women collude with this oppression? It is ...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
I listened to this as an audio book, which had both advantages and disadvantages. I was able to read a maddening subject in small bites, and yet there were many passages I needed to rewind and replay a few times to truly grasp. The narrator's upper crust British accent made the highly descriptive language seem a tad less upsetting.

The author covers centuries of misogynistic behaviors and beliefs in a relatively short book, which is amazing since misogyny exists in practically every culture thro
Lord Beardsley
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2015
The last work of Jack Holland's life is this masterpiece: a complete and utter take-down of the fallacy of Misogyny and the ravages it has caused human kind. Passionate, sincere, incredibly well-researched and told with an engaging and approachable tone I can't recommend this enough. This work is a credit to humanity and I am also very happy to see that a male feminist ally in the fight to end gender discrimination wrote it. I could not admire this book enough. It's an essential work of feminist ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2018
This is one tricky book to rate.

On one hand, I haven't found any other book out there that gives such a detailed history of what men have thought and decided and written about women in (mostly) Europe in the last two thousand years. It's nice to now have a list of all historic philosophers and serial killers I should hate (it's all of them).

On the other hand... this book is all about men. The women mentioned are nothing more than innocent victims, constantly tortured, subjugated and segregated.
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the historical information in this book, especially the discussion of traditions of misogyny in western philosophy. It should be noted that this is a history of misogyny in the western world, with only a cursory glance at eastern history and cultures. It is also intended to be a brief history of misogyny, yet even that seems like an extremely ambitious undertaking - it's simply too broad a topic. Throughout the book I hoped for better researched arguments and more source citations. There ...more
Excellent book about the history of the hatred of women, dating back to Greek and Roman times, continuing through the rise of Christianity and the Catholic Church, up to the witch craze of the Middle Ages, the stultifying and sexless Victorian era, Freud, and the anti-choice movement. I thought I would feel anger while reading it, but the author's style is such that I was just wrapped up in the story of the many injustices perpetrated upon women lo these thousands of years.

There were a few inte
"Women’s rights are human rights."

At the beginning of this book I promised myself that I wouldn't get angry no matter what. At the end of this book I wondered why I even bothered in fact I think something would've been really wrong with me if this book did not evoke the kind of anger it did in me. I finished this book and I just felt tired. Tired of everything after all I had read I wondered what was the point? If this book was anything to go by, the more things changed the more they remained t
Ray Campbell
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
Holland begins with abuse of women in the classical world. While Plato set the stage for even the scholarship of Christian saints, he justified the abuse of women which carries over into main stream European culture. Holland could have easily just recounted centuries of abuse, but he takes a scholarly tact and explains how great philosophers, scientists and theologians rationalize the marginalization and abuse of women.

Holland is truly a historian and covers the issue of the abuse of woman in a
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic from start to finish.

This book starts out with a forward by the deceased author's grown daughter. What a beautiful tribute. I usually prefer books on women's issues that were written by women themselves. However, Jack Holland put together one of the best books on women's issues I have read to date. Holland reached far back, as far as the written word could be traced, to try to understand the history of misogyny and its connection to politics, law, culture, literature, economics, relig
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I've brought it up many times since I read it and keep thinking about it. A wonderful history and so tragic. It will make you mad (especially if you're a woman). Very insightful.
You'll have a horrible time reading this, but it's super interesting and well written (especially considering it was written by a man. It's factual yet sensitive). However it should be mentioned that this is an indeed brief history of western misogyny for the most part.
Very interesting and very accessible. This should be mandatory reading.
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, and found it pretty easy to read. I thought that it was pretty lame that it said it was giving a history of misogyny, and then focused almost entirely on western cultures-- particularly British and American. It certainly could have gone into more depth about the taliban, arab countries, and even southeast asia. The author places a lot of blame for the origins of misogyny on the whole tree of knowledge bit from the Bible. I suppose it makes sense, but I am in denial, bec ...more
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ohhh this book wrecked me. I had the distinct pleasure of listening to this book while doing my normal chores around the house. It turns out I was merely capable of washing the same dish over and over. This meaty book requires a strong pot of tea, and a quiet mind. I'll admit to initially balking at the idea of a man (no matter how learned) relating the history of misogyny. His daughter's forward endeared the man to me. Others, she claimed had asked him why he, a man, wanted to write about the h ...more
Waco Glennon
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars, which contained a tremendous amount of violence against women, I was concerned. I am a father of a beautiful young woman. I have tried to teach her that this world is as open to her as it is to any man. But I have not ever really understood why women are so poorly treated. It is global. It is subtle. It is painful. And, it is deadly. Due to this concern and lack of understanding, I turned to this book to hopefully educate myself. That definitely ...more
Tadas Talaikis
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, gender

Oh my caesar, that was fun day on Facebook with this. Just few:

Pope Innocent VIII burned hundreds of women and for the last few days of his life, he fed on the breast milk of a young woman.

In July 1492 Innocent VIII fell into a fever. His physician had him drink the blood of three 10-year-old boys. The boys subsequently died.

Pastor makes congregants suck his penis in church saying his sperm is "holy milk"

The Catholic Church claiming the breast milk of Mary

OK, enough for the small introductory pi
Alex Brown
It would be better titled "Misogyny: A European History", the book appears to be chronological starting in ancient Greece and moving through the rest of Europe with different religious or philosophical traditions, only noticing other areas when they were colonised, etc by Europe. There is no meaningful discussion of misogyny in East Asia, North or South America or Africa until they are dominated by European states. This is despite an acknowledgement that misogyny exists in this areas beforehand. ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
...I don’t know what I expected from a book about misogyny written by a man.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Much like hearing a diagnosis, learning about misogyny doesn't change the fact that it exists, but it makes you aware of why some things are the way they are and most importantly it changes how you think about and approach it. And one might argue that's the first step to changing things. This book is a very concise overview and the material in it (while sometimes horrible and depressing) is not presented in an angry or hostile way. I'd say its a really good book to recommend to someone who maybe ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has not made me a woman.” — Morning Blessings, Artscroll Siddur, p. 12.
This is what the Judeo God has proclaimed that his male subjects should say each morning. Beyond this, the woman is supposed to say "Thank you God for making me as i am" and then both the male and female should say "Thank you God for not making me a slave". Now it's pretty obvious this wasn't written by any God but by a man. Here was one example of the beauty of reli
Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard
I enjoyed this book although it was completely different than I expected. I underestimated the word History. It went all the way back to Adam and Eve and came forward. There is a whole lot of history and comparisons to other cultures on this subject, at times I marvel that women as part of the free world are not extinct. At the end of the book I was glad I read it although I would have liked reading more about current examples in America.
Chris Finn
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting book with lots of things I did not know about i.e. the ancient Greek hostility to women, the theological justifications that religion used against women.

I really like the explanation misogyny to the Taliban was on the same par as anti-Semitism to the Nazis

However I wished he spent more time talking about why he thinks misogyny exists, too little at the end.
Kimber Martin
Very interesting book with a lot of information. I came away with a lot more knowledge. Not the most exciting book.. but for the learning aspect it was good :)
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