The inspiration for The World's Oldest Prejudice sprang from a lifelong fascination with and love of women. Raised by a strong matriarchal grandmother, my father enjoyed a long and happy marriage with my mother, a formidable woman in her own right. The power of female sexuality was something he reveled in, but it never eclipsed his respect for a womanís intellect and perspective on the world.
So in 2003, after a career of analyzing Northern Ireland’s political woes, he turned his journalist’s eye to a daunting question: how do you explain the oppression and brutalization of half the world’s population by the other half, throughout history?
Some may say his approach to this topic was unorthodox. He was not an academic historian. But the techniques he used in tackling this topic were ones he used to make other conflicts tangible to many readers — his ability to condense difficult, inaccessible material, his deep knowledge of western culture and history, his sympathy for the oppressed, and his lyrical prose style. With those tools at his disposal, he turned what could have been a heavy, unreadable tome into a book that is remarkably light and — given its sometimes brutal subject matter — pleasurable to read.
The World's Oldest Prejudice is an important and timely book. While some may find its central tenets to be controversial, it was written out of a sincere desire to address the immense suffering of women worldwide, throughout time.
The fact that my father died before this book could be published is indeed a tragedy. Four days before he died, we sat together in a sun-filled lounge in the cancer ward at Columbia-Presbyterian hospital, reading through the manuscript. Even in the midst of a terminal illness, he was totally absorbed by the topic, and was determined to see the project through. That task was left to us, his family and friends.
After he died, both his publisher and his long-time agent failed to support us, and our ties with them were dissolved following a brief but unpleasant legal tussle. But we did not act out of grief. We acted out of the conviction that this book has enormous potential to inform, entertain and enlighten a wide audience of men and women throughout the world. Thanks to Constable & Robinson (UK publisher) and Carroll & Graf (US publisher) his dying wish will now come true!
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Jenny E. Holland
New York City,