Demonic Males: Apes and The Origins of Human Violence (aka why everything sucks)

60-Second Summary

In Demonic Males, authors Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson venture through jungles, scrutinize scientific evidence, and travel back millions of years in an attempt to uncover the origins of human violence and understand why men, specifically, are seemingly culpable for many of the world’s deadliest wars and most heinous crimes.

We’ve all witnessed atrocities and wondered why. However, despite our best efforts to rationalize them, these evils that give us pause might not be solely political, cultural or economical consequences, but rather evolutionary – something deeper, something that diplomacy and social change alone cannot cure.

Are men born good and turn evil, or vice versa? According to Wrangham and Peterson, the answer begins millions of years ago, before human existence.


  • A staggeringly thorough, yet clear and concise (245 pages without notes), exploration of the causes of humanity’s greatest problems and most unspeakable acts.


  • Men, we scientifically suck, and it’s hard to come away from Demonic Males not feeling a little bruised. If you’ve ever been called an asshole by an ex-girlfriend, chances are, she was probably right.

Lessons Learned

Why is a powerful word. It leads us to reexamine contemporary culture and our history, to question further and dig deeper. Eventually, though, you reach a beginning, a bedrock that’s too long ago for any of us to remember and microscopic for any of us to see. It’s a place only science can go, yet it’s also where many of the most coveted answers we seek hide. So, if those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, we need to break out the microscopes, not the history books.

Favorite Quote

“[Our ancestors] began shaping stone tools and relying much more consistently on meat around 2 million years ago. Their brains began expanding toward human size around 1.8 million years ago in an astonishing development that ended only half a million years ago. They tamed fire perhaps 1.5 million years ago. They developed human language at some unknown later time, perhaps 150,000 years ago. They invented agriculture 10,000 years ago. They made gunpowder around 1,000 years ago, and motor vehicles a century ago.”

-Christopher Brooks is the author of The Gertrude Threshold: A Novella, which is published by Ragged Right Media and available on Amazon starting at $0.99.

Demonic Males on Amazon