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  • Published: 10 September 2024
  • ISBN: 9781529156171
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 624
  • RRP: $27.99


How The Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution

The definitive guide to the Female Body, Eve is the book women all over the world have been waiting for.


How did wet nurses drive civilization? Are women always the weaker sex? Is sexism useful for evolution? And are our bodies at war with our babies?

In Eve, Cat Bohannon answers questions scientists should have been addressing for decades. With boundless curiosity and sharp wit, she covers the past 200 million years to explain the specific science behind the development of the female sex. Eve is not only a sweeping revision of human history, it's an urgent and necessary corrective for a world that has focused primarily on the male body for far too long. Bohannon's findings, including everything from the way C-sections in the industrialized world are rearranging women's pelvic shape to the surprising similarities between pus and breast milk, will completely change what you think you know about evolution and why Homo sapiens have become such a successful and dominant species, from tool use to city building to the development of language.

  • Published: 10 September 2024
  • ISBN: 9781529156171
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 624
  • RRP: $27.99

About the author

Cat Bohannon

Cat Bohannon is a scientist and a writer based at Columbia University, where she is a PhD candidate doing research on the evolution of human cognition and narrative. Outside of academia, Cat writes on evolution, neurobiology, and aesthetics. Her essays and poems have appeared in Science Magazine, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Georgia Review, and Poets Against the War, among other venues. She now lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, surrounded by millions of her fellow hominids.

Praise for Eve

A smart, funny, scientific deep-dive into the power of a woman's body, Eve surprises, educates, and emboldens. Who runs the world? Girls!

Bonnie Garmus, author of LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY

Eve was immeasurably useful to me in my life-long quest to understand my own body. I highly recommend it to anyone who is on the same journey.

Hope Jahren, author of LAB GIRL and STORY OF MORE

Why do women live longer than men? Why are women more likely to get Alzheimer's? And what is it with this damn menopause? Ten years in the writing, this triumph of rigor and accessibility by a Columbia University researcher is a myth-busting look at how the female body has driven evolution over the past 200 million years, continuing to shape all our lives today. In short it's a brilliant book about "breasts, and blood, and fat, and vaginas, and wombs...how they came to be and how we live with them now, no matter how weird or hilarious the truth is."

Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller, Editor's Choice

Such a rare book: scholarly, funny, accessible and very important. A truly original history of humans that explains so much of who we are today

Chris van Tulleken, author of ULTRA-PROCESSED PEOPLE

Utterly fascinating. This book should revolutionise our understanding of human life. It is set to become a classic

George Monbiot, author of REGENESIS

I'm obsessed with EVE by Cat Bohannon. Riveting, jaw-dropping, hilarious, exciting, enraging and deeply, deeply refreshing. Bohannon presents cutting-edge science with glittering sensory detail, awe-inspiring story-telling, and a genius and often poetic turn of phrase. I will never forget her description of animals as "essentially lumpy donuts filled with ocean." I loved the real talk about giving birth to live babies and the reality of gestation and motherhood. So clever, so necessary, so funny. Finally, Eve's story is here and Bohannon's remarkable and gripping telling will change the world

Lucy Jones, author of MATRESCENCE

A rollicking, bollocking, subversive counter-history, telling at last the story of the human mainstream instead of (as other histories do) the male-edited, male-glorifying sidelines. And it does it all with forgiveness and good grace and great dollops of humour. Marvellous and downright necessary.

Charles Foster, author of CRY OF THE WILD

A vast and revolutionary history of female evolution . . . [Eve] is a gripping, lyrical tale of female suffering, of remarkable resilience, of the lengths we will go to to survive and to protect our young. It makes being a woman seem truly extraordinary

Laura Hackett, Sunday Times

An epic combination of science and speculation that places women at the centre of history


[Cat Bohannon] is revolutionising our understanding of the human body with her female-centric history of the species. A hugely ambitious piece of work, and one that doesn’t pull its punches . . . character and storytelling are clearly second nature to Bohannon . . . It's a book that’s packed full of surprising revelations


A page-turning whistle-stop tour of mammalian development that begins in the Jurassic Era, Eve recasts the traditional story of evolutionary biology by placing women at its center . . . The book is engaging, playful, erudite, discursive and rich with detail

New York Times

A writer with a doctorate in the evolution of narrative and cognition, Bohannon offers a refreshing and lively corrective to a story that has focused mainly on male evolution


Bohannon tells an exhilarating evolutionary story, as prodigiously researched as it is entertainingly written . . . Bohannon will annoy some and challenge some preconceptions – but her book is fascinating

Mail on Sunday

Eve is a bold, original and bracingly ambitious feminist retelling of the origin of human society

New Statesman

A fascinating study


An opinionated clapback against centuries of male-centric evolutionary history . . . Eve is an endless source of dinner-party trivia, much of it inappropriate for actual dinner parties . . . Eve also suggests a new way of thinking about one’s body: as a thing of time, built on a foundation developed over millions of years . . . Eve is a love letter to the ancient, creaking wonder that is evolution.

Cindi Leive, New York Times

Cat Bohannon awards women their rightful place in evolutionary history and argues that gynaecology is the reason we are all alive today . . . Radical and fresh . . . [Eve] is an impressive and expansive body of work

Irish Independent

Fascinating . . . An impressive feat . . . Existing as a woman in our increasingly atomized world can be isolating in ways that are hard to even identify. Beyond making me gasp aloud in wonder, Bohannon’s book was an unexpected antidote, delivering a profound sense of kinship with every other woman who’s ever existed (plus those various Eve ancestors)

Nora Biette-Timmons, Jezebel

For over a century and a half since Darwin, we have talked about the origin of man. But what about women? Marshaling considerable wit, scholarship, and cutting edge science Cat Bohannon traces the history and importance of female biology and, in the process, gives us a refreshing new view on the origin of humanity

Neil Shubin, author of YOUR INNER FISH

Almost fantastically interesting. Every few pages there would be some fact I didn't know or an idea that was new to me

Charles Mann, author of 1491

A capacious investigation of women throughout time . . . A jaunty, digressive, and often whimsical tale examining the origins of some defining features of womanhood . . . Prodigious research informs a spirited history of humanity

Kirkus Reviews

Bohannon offers a bracing corrective to male-centric evolutionary accounts. She balances scientific rigor with entertaining prose . . . An illuminating and fresh take on how human evolution unfolded

Publishers Weekly

Talking to Cat Bohannon is like being struck with a tornado of ideas

Lucy Cooke, bestselling author of BITCH

[A] punchy and utterly compelling book, which not only traces the evolutionary paths of our male and female ancestors over the past 200 million years but also argues that the way female bodies changed during that time made us who we are today: mankind is essentially womankind. Along the way, [Cat Bohannon] scatters explosive facts about our human ancestors, their animal cousins and our modern selves like miniature grenades. Rarely have I read a book in which every page brims with such astounding revelations . . . She has a gift for turning complex scientific theory into clear and breezy language, framing each chapter with an engaging vignette . . . A fast-paced yet scholarly book, containing 140 pages of notes, Eve is a magnificent achievement.

Wendy Moore, Literary Review

Cat Bohannon takes a stylish scalpel to innumerable examples of the dysfunctional ways in which medicine and technology have been limping along according to an assumed "male norm", and investigates the evolution of female anatomy all the way back to mammals that scurried around under the feet of the dinosaurs. Highly entertaining, and full of novel perceptions.

Guardian, 'Best Ideas Books of 2023'

You might not look at humankind the same way again after reading Eve by Cat Bohannon. The title is a nod to the biblical first woman, but it’s what followed her that motivates Bohannon’s work—the entire span of human evolution and how it has led to women being very different, and in many underappreciated ways, from men. This is both a powerful recasting of thousands of years of history and a powerful argument: why, still, do societies regard men as the final word in evolution?

Prospect Magazine

An important and vivid book. Enchantingly written, the pages sparkle with delightful and novel facts. Women will find it revealing, and men will find it astounding. I give it my highest recommendation.

Walter Gilbert, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1980

Astounding . . . A gripping, lyrical tale of female suffering, of resilience, of the lengths we will go to to survive and to protect our young.

Sunday Times

It’s a fascinating read, provoking laughter and anger . . . an absolutely fascinating read, a real eye-opener’