August 1974

The Inevitability of Patriarchy.

Author Affiliations

Phipps 400 Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore, MD 21205


By Steven Goldberg. Price, $6.95. Pp 256. William Morrow & Co Inc, 105 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016, 1973.

Am J Dis Child. 1974;128(2):262-264. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110270136037

The Inevitability of Patriarchy is a badly written, nervously argued book that depends for its central thesis on a simplistic, thoroughgoing biological reductionism. The author wrongly reifies biological heritage as distinct from social heritage in his own version of, yet once again, the nature-nurture controversy. Thereby, he makes himself as vulnerable as the silly student who tried to argue that native language is a product of biological heritage alone.

Goldberg marshals considerable data in support of his theory of patriarchy and male dominance as inevitable concomitants of man's biological heritage. Male attainment of high status roles and positions, male advantage in mathematical reasoning and in handling logical abstractions are, he says, all the result of the differential hormonal stimulation of the male and female. He further attributes the differentiation of male and female roles, in the direction of male dominance, male superiority, and male status, to socialization that is an

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