cover image The Naked Man: A Study of the Male Body

The Naked Man: A Study of the Male Body

Desmond Morris, . . St. Martin?s/Dunne, $25.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-312-38530-9

This follow-up to Morris’s 2005 The Naked Woman rambles aimlessly around each part of the male body, beginning with hair and working down to the feet, jumping from evolutionary matters to strange, tangentially related social ones. Discussing the mouth, for instance, Morris begins with the unusually fleshy human lip, proceeds to the teeth and soon digresses to why women visit the dentist more often than men and the latest trends in false teeth. Bits and pieces of the book are entertaining, but Morris regularly falls back on anecdotes rather than scientific evidence for his arguments. And while he espouses equality for both women and homosexuals, he can still express the view that it is men, not women, “who have been driven on by their genetically installed ambitions actually to take the great steps necessary to build our towering civilisations.” And current scientific evidence runs counter to his view that “from an evolutionary standpoint, there is only one valid biological lifestyle for the human male and that is heterosexual.” Morris’s writing is simple (perhaps too simple), clear and occasionally entertains, but it makes for poor science. Photos. (Aug.)