‘A Story of Us’ and ‘Alpha Masculinity’

Book cover and two authors
  • A Story of Us: A New Look at Human Evolution
  • By Lesley Newson, research associate, Department of Environmental Science and Policy; and Peter Richerson, distinguished professor emeritus, Department of Environmental Science and Policy
  • Oxford University Press (March 1, 2021)

The wife-and-husband authors tell a seven-stage story of human evolutionary history — from 7 million years ago to the present day — describing our ancestors and their world. “This new story of human evolution talks about how our ancestors evolved to rely on uniquely human social skills and develop complex cultures,” Richerson says. “Even though our book is being published by an academic publisher, we have done our best to make the book accessible and interesting to a nonacademic readership.”  

‘A Story of Us’ provides a thoroughly modern and refreshingly gender-balanced analysis of human evolution. Accurate and authoritative, with superb illustrations, and innovative use of storytelling to bring the science to life, Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson have produced an exceptional book. — Kevin Laland, author of Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind’

Book cover and author
  • Alpha Masculinity: Hegemony in Language and Discourse
  • By Eric Louis Russell, professor of French, and affiliate faculty in linguistics, and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
  • Palgrave Macmillan (April 15, 2021)

Alpha Masculinity unravels the language mechanisms behind the myth and the reality of the American alpha male. Say the publisher: “Through a detailed, multilevel analysis, Russell shows how the alpha figure combines elements of dominance, normativity and androcentrism and how these forces intersect with neoliberal and pseudoscientific discourses to establish a uniquely hybridized male hegemony, one that is familiar to most, but whose internal mechanisms remain largely unquestioned and unexamined.”

Far from just a label tossed around to make some men feel good about their performatives, alpha masculinity invokes realities with very real consequences on bodies, enacted violences and political machinations. If you want to understand the dynamics of gender today, you must read this book. — Michelle A. Marzullo, professor, California Institute of Integral Studies

The UC Davis Books Blog, a project of News and Media Relations, announces newly published books by faculty and staff authors, and also includes posts about book-related events around campus. Contact the books blog by email.

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