• A Brief History of Misogyny: the World's Oldest Prejudice

  • Brief Histories
  • By: Jack Holland
  • Narrated by: Cameron Stewart
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (855 ratings)

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A Brief History of Misogyny: the World's Oldest Prejudice

By: Jack Holland
Narrated by: Cameron Stewart
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Publisher's Summary

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 listener on an eye-opening journey through centuries, continents, and civilizations as it looks at both historical and contemporary attitudes to women.

Encompassing the Church, witch hunts, sexual theory, Nazism and pro-life campaigners, we arrive at today's developing world, where women are increasingly and disproportionately at risk because of radicalised religious belief, famine, war and disease. Well-informed and researched, highly readable and thought-provoking, this is no outmoded feminist polemic: It's a refreshingly straightforward investigation into an ancient, pervasive, and enduring injustice. It deals with the fundamentals of human existence - sex, love, violence - that have shaped the lives of humans throughout history.

The answer? It's time to recognize that the treatment of women amounts to nothing less than an abuse of human rights on an unthinkable scale. A Brief History of Misogyny is an important and timely book that will make a long-lasting contribution to the efforts to improve those rights throughout the world.

Jack Holland was a highly respected author and journalist known particularly for his commentary about Northern Irish politics. He grew up in Belfast (where he was taught by Seamus Heaney) and worked with Jeremy Paxman and other outstanding journalists at BBC Belfast during a period of seminal current affairs programming. Jack published four novels and seven works of non-fiction, most of the latter having to do with politics and terrorism in Northern Ireland, including the best-selling Phoenix. Sadly, Jack died of cancer in 2004, just after the manuscript of Misogyny had been delivered and accepted by his US publisher. On his death, his family received letters of respect from statesmen including Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton, who had come to rely on his balanced analysis of Irish politics.

©2013 Jack Holland (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Jack Holland's Misogyny, an invaluable addition...meticuously researched and briskly related." ( Sunday Times,)

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What listeners say about A Brief History of Misogyny: the World's Oldest Prejudice

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An Excellent History of a Repulsive Subject

First off, this is an important book that everyone -- particularly men -- should read. It does a good job revealing the long, grizzly history of misogyny, a necessary endeavor given how often the purported inferiority of women is taken for granted even in contemporary Western culture. It is often so disturbing that I imagine it would scare a lot of casual sexists into reexamining their views, were it incorporated into, say, a high school curriculum.

There are some shortcomings. For one, any history that begins with the kindling of Western civilization and proceeds to the present in a mere 10 hours is going to be somewhat generalized at times. Some of the bits on Greek and Roman history tends to treat these as somewhat more homogenous than might a book specifically about one of those topics, for instance.

The concluding chapter may be divisive among feminist listeners because it comes down on the side of there being innate differences between men and women, and claims that to deny this is to deny part of women's humanity. Holland's justifications for this view are unsatisfying, and I question the need for such a book to espouse any opinion on this matter -- the thesis feels tacked on to what is otherwise a brilliant work of research and observation.

Excellent narration.

52 people found this helpful

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Should be required reading for every man over the age of 12

The book makes clear the nature of the process that makes every woman double discriminated. That is, in every hated group there is another hated group: the women in that group.
It is very clear that we will never be able to resolve any other form of prejudice until we have resolved this one.
Read, pass it on.
Note: There is some language in this book that some may find unpleasant. It is the nature of misogyny that some people and surely some parents will complain that they do not want exposure to these words, completely overlooking fact that those "bad" words are used in our culture to describe women. There are also some descriptions of things done to women that are quite disturbing. And again some will complain about the graphicness those descriptions while ignoring the fact that those things were actually done to the women in those scenes. As if we should talk about the mutilation of the genitals of 10 year old girls in words that don't upset us quite so much.

44 people found this helpful

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A Unique Take on History

Lately, I've been reading a lot of theory and anthropology so I thought some history might be a nice change of pace. Early on, this book felt like yet another recitation of the wrongs against women. But as the book goes on, I was more and more drawn into not only the recurrent themes throughout history the author uncovers, but also how mercilessly he calls out misogyny in all aspects of history. I'd honestly never heard a feminist critique of the Third Reich, or Shakespeare being boldly called a misogynist. It's given me a lot of food for thought. Please give this a listen if you're interested in women's place throughout history!!!

38 people found this helpful

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Clear, concise, and unarguable. Bravo.

As a male, and a Caucasian male at that, I have unjustified privilege stolen from women and non-Caucasians over millennia, even though I am not wealthy, and despite my deliberately trying not to exercise this privilege. In this book, the author eloquently makes the case for this historical atrocity, puts it in context, and suggests how we humans might begin making a better world for all of us. Listening to it, I have renewed motivation to do what I can to help, or at least, to avoid setting back the positive start that some have made, including this author.

15 people found this helpful

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Thought Provoking

Where does A Brief History of Misogyny: the World's Oldest Prejudice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the most thought provoking I have ever read! This is a must read for men and women.

14 people found this helpful

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Nice book

I confess I was a little unimpressed with the idea of reading a book about misogyny written by a man, but it turned out quite good. Even thought it's not groundbreaking or as through as possible, I'm findinf myself recommending the book to friends (to be honest I always recommend feminist books to friends!). Pleasant enough listen even though it's very history-y with dates and names. I did fall asleep a few times but liked it enough to go back and listen to the parts I missed again. #history #feminism #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

13 people found this helpful

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A secular look at the social disease

Remarkably researched, balanced review of the often subtle or hidden contempt societies breed over women. Detailed historical insights offered as a lens to examine how pervasive and wide-reaching the concept is.

13 people found this helpful

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READ this BOOK!! Life changing wisdom!

This is one of the most powerful books I've ever read! My mind is blown. I highly recommend it!!

11 people found this helpful

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A Superb Take on a Tragic yet Ever-Topical Subject

This book offers an fierce and sound review of the movement of the ever-present prejudice held by man against his female co-human, as well as the many times this prejudice has turned women against their own, co-opting some in the war against their own sister-kind.
Fine, exemplary work of the highest order.

10 people found this helpful

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a MUST read

What did you love best about A Brief History of Misogyny: the World's Oldest Prejudice?

As performance: Easy to listen to and very interesting story.
Hard to keep cynical about misogyny after this book.

What other book might you compare A Brief History of Misogyny: the World's Oldest Prejudice to and why?

books about racism, antisemitism.

What does Cameron Stewart bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

calm and interesting voice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • RosB
  • 03-16-19

Why was this book read by a man

This well researched work related the history of misogyny but not its causes or origins

11 people found this helpful

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  • Anonimo Nonlodico
  • 09-08-19

Ridiculously one sided

Just a cheap and lazy propaganda piece. Devoid of critical thought. Unwilling to consider in good faith the arguments of the other side. “Take that bigots!”

9 people found this helpful

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  • iris
  • 06-30-13

A dissection of female oppression

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Brief History of Misogyny?

The investigation into the treatment of women during the time of Ancient Greece which revealed the surprisingly relative freedom of the Spartan women compared with their Athenian sisters!

What does Cameron Stewart bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Cameron Stewart's narration is excellent as his voice is warm and really brings the story to life.

Any additional comments?

This book is one of the best I have read about the treatment of women throughout the ages and one of the author's main contentions that societies where men largely outnumber women leads to increased oppression is very convincing. The investigation covers a vast range of historical, cultural and religious attitudes towards women which is most impressive and it is refreshing that this book was written by a man. The introduction concerning the author is extremely moving.

7 people found this helpful

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  • keiran
  • 07-18-13

compulsory read.

What did you like most about A Brief History of Misogyny?

it brought to light the monstrous injustices woman have suffered over the last 2500 years

What did you like best about this story?

i liked that despite being relatively well read. i was unaware of most of these facts

What about Cameron Stewart’s performance did you like?

clear and intelligent narration

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-16-21

An interesting take on the subject

But poorly edited. Repetitive in parts and some words overused to the point of being annoying (I never want to hear ‘dualistic’ again).

The book is well researched though and has raised my awareness of misogyny in a variety of circumstances. I found the early historical parts particularly interesting.

Despite this I couldn’t help but feel that many assumptions had been made and perhaps some examples were labelled misogynistic when perhaps that wasn’t the root cause.

It’s also worth being aware that examples of misogyny throughout history and up to present day are brutal at times and not for the faint hearted.

I’m still glad I listened and would recommend this informative book.

Very well read by the narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Not A Bot
  • 04-26-22

Everyone should read or listen to this

A fantastic history of the most universal prejudice, that explains why misogyny is so deeply unfounded on anything even remotely sensible. My deepest condolences to the daughter of the author (who wrote the introduction), who lost a wonderful man when her father died. Thanks are due to him for writing this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sigrin
  • 03-28-22

Woman…..hate to love, love to hate


Not something I would normally read listen but thought I would give it a go after listening to the sample.

What a great book, lots of facts and information but delivered in a great style that doesn’t bore.

Great narration, Cameron Stewart’s voice is just right for this type of book.

Highly recommend

1 person found this helpful

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  • Steve Wilson
  • 09-12-21

Insightful and sadly necessary

Recommended for anyone who finds themselfs up against todays closeted misogynists. Interesting that Holland estemes Jesus in such high regards especially set against the horrors of the Church using his name.

1 person found this helpful

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  • LanaLeigh
  • 08-25-22

Excellent! Should be required reading in schools!

incredibly well researched and very accessible. Scarily, many of the ideas abd even laws in this book have made a comeback since it's publication making it incredibly relevent at present. There is much to be learned from this comprehensive history. Highly recommend!

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  • KK
  • 04-16-22

Taking the long view.

I find that just about everything can be understood best when it is set in its historical context. This book provides an accessible, readable and concise study of a subject that is so central in its importance to human life.