Cover image for Baby wars : the dynamics of family conflict
Baby wars : the dynamics of family conflict
Baker, Robin, 1944-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Hopewell, N.J.: Ecco Press, 1999.

Physical Description:
xxi, 294 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London : Fourth Estate, 1998.
Added Author:
Format :


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Material Type
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HQ728 .B35 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In this logical follow-up to Sperm Wars, a retired U. of Manchester zoologist and his life partner offer a popular treatment of the sociobiological aspects of parenthood, grandparenthood, and family strife through a Darwinian lens.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

As changes in the structure of the family pervade modern society, experts from many fields are racing to explain the ramifications and origins of these variations. Baker and Oram (Sperm Wars) sidestep social science and psychology to discuss the genesis of today's family dynamics from the standpoint of evolutionary biology. The authors draw on recent research to attempt to show that the basis of familial conflict lies not in our psyches but in our genes, and to prove the provocative if narrow theorem that natural selection drives family members to position themselves for "reproductive success" in either the present or the long run. They range widely over such topics as infidelity, postpartum depression, incest and mate selection, with fictional scenarios that will strike a familiar chord for many readers. In each, they emphasize how the characters (and by extension, all humans) are motivated by a desire to replicate as favorably as possible. The authors further assert that these drives are hardwired into our genetic makeup. Baker and Oram emphasize that familial conflicts are normal, inevitable and educational, and that even apparently destructive and irrational actions have a deep-seated biological coherence. Written specifically for a lay audience, this primer on the Darwinian viewpoint in the nature vs. nurture debate is bound to be controversial. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

An insightful look into the conflicts of family life, this book provides vignettes instead of psychological case studies to illustrate the theme of the book: having children brings conflict into people's lives. Baker (Sperm Wars, LJ 11/1/96) and Oram assert that "every aspect of parenthood generates a biological conflict of interests" and that internal conflict is a normal and inevitable feature of parenthood and family life. Although the book doesn't paint a rosy picture of parenthood, it is a compelling read that will make readers ponder the actions behind their own family conflicts. Covering many aspects of evolutionary biology and including topics such as conception, sibling rivalry, and even aging in humans, this is a challenging and thought-provoking book. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ÄSheila Devaney, Peace Coll. Lib., Raleigh, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
1 Highs and Lows
1 Real Soapp. 1
2 Getting Started
2 Conception Campaignsp. 5
3 Barren Timesp. 27
4 Success?p. 36
3 Pregnancy, Labour and Serenity
5 Sex during Pregnancyp. 52
6 Pregnancy Sicknessp. 65
7 Labourp. 75
4 Baby Wars
8 Breast-feedingp. 85
9 Sleepless Nightsp. 105
10 Post-natal Depressionp. 111
5 Families and Dynasties
11 All's Fair...p. 119
12 Quality or Quantity?p. 134
13 A Single Mistakep. 143
6 Family Strife
14 Sibling Rivalryp. 149
15 Parental Favouritismp. 156
16 Incestp. 166
17 Child Abusep. 186
18 Lone Parenthoodp. 205
7 The Road to Grandparenthood
19 Preparing the Groundp. 217
20 Rebellion, Exploration and Fledgingp. 237
21 Mate Selectionp. 246
8 Grandparenthood
22 Extended Helpp. 257
23 Beyond Reproduction?p. 266
24 The Family Helperp. 273
9 The End
25 Final Commitmentp. 283
Further Readingp. 293