Could the invention of writing, and then the alphabet, have been largely responsible for a decisive shift towards patriarchy and misogyny? In this groundbreaking book, Leonard Shlain draws on brain anatomy and anthropology, religion and history, to develop his challenging thesis. Literacy, he argues, encourages 'masculine' linear, reductionist and abstract modes of thought which tend to degrade women. (The witch-hunts of the Renaissance coincided with the rapid expansion of printing.) Yet the last century has seen the rise of visual communications media such as photography, film, television and the Internet. Regardless of their content, such innovations are reconfiguring our brains and producing a climate far more amenable to feminine values. It is only by acknowledging the downside of literacy that we can incorporate its benefits into a culture rooted in 'the right-hemispheric values of tolerance, caring and respect for nature'.