London, Dusseldorf, Vienna: Michael Joseph / Econ Verlag, 1971-1973. First Edition. Together 2 vols., 8vo. Ad 1: 236 pp. (top edge dust-soiled). Original cloth, original dust-jacket printed in red, black and silver (the latter with some abrading along spine and extremities). Ad 2: 242 pp.,  f. (ads). Original cloth, original dust-jacket printed in red and black (toned along extremities). Both volumes in excellent condition, the bindings tight, hinges quite perfect, without any blemishes, inscriptions or stamps whatsoever. NOT ex-library! Very good / Very good. Item #3826
"DE-EVOLUTION" PROCLAIMED: THE INSPIRATION FOR DEVO AND THE CLARION CALL FOR "BEAUTIFUL MUTANTS" WORLDWIDE. We are pleased to offer excellent copies of the first edition (Dusseldorf and Vienna, 1971) and the first English translation (London, 1973).
An extraordinary pseudo-scientific book which does not have a single footnote. "The book proposes that early cannibalistic apes discovered the aphrodisiac effects of brains, and became addicted to them. However, the nutrient-rich brain matter inadvertently kickstarted evolution, leading to increased brain size and intelligence while causing the loss of body hair and our innate psychic abilities. The book claims these advances ultimately caused DE-EVOLUTION, leading us to be disconnected from nature and each other, suffering from distorted sexuality from hormone imbalances and driven insane by the pressures of our large brains inside our skulls." SOURCE: Cult of Weird, online. Maerth foresaw a return to cannibalism in the future, and urges the reader to drop out of society, embrace a vegetarian diet, steep himself in the wisdom of the East and perhaps employ various wooden frames and wire devices to alter the shape of his skull as some ancient cultures did, thus relieving the pressure on the brain and partially restoring psychic powers.
Maerth (1914-1990) claimed to have lived in Europe, South America, Australia, and Asia. A persistent rumor, albeit unconfirmed, claims that he was either a Nazi or a concentration camp survivor. His obsession was cannibalism -- specifically eating still-warm human brains. "This, he says, is the root of man's intelligence and also the cause of his forthcoming destruction. Primitive brain consumption created an 'oversized sick brain which made his self-destruction appear to be progress. Females, denied this diet, became congenitally inferior [according to Maerth]. As man became differentiated from animals, his sickness increased: hair loss necessitated clothing which produced 'physical and mental damage,' the rubbing on the male's penis dulls his sexual vitality. Murder increases sexual lust and was induced by man's meat eating. Speech is actually the lost ESP 'transference' of animals, and man is directly related to various breeds of apes. The book is ornamented with photographs of non-white men and women juxtaposed to their alleged ape-ancestors. Man had no right to seek a higher intelligence and therefore will 'devastate the earth and destroy himself.' The question that will be raised is why this book is being published. A major scandal." SOURCE: Kirkus (3/18/74), unsigned review.
This work inspired the formation of the art-rock band DEVO in Akron, Ohio in 1973, and indeed the book's title was appropriated for the first DEVO film: "The Beginning Was The End: The Truth About De-Evolution" (1976). Co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh states: "Jerry [Casale, DEVO co-founder] found this book called 'The Beginning Was The End - How Man Came Into Being Through Cannibalism' and that really was intriguing to both of us -- the idea that humans were not the center of the universe, that maybe humans were the unnatural species on the planet. We were the species that was insane, and was out of touch with nature, and was destroying everything. We thought that concept was a pretty good explanation for what we were observing, in the news and around us." SOURCE: Interview in The Quietus, online.
CATALOGUER'S NOTE: We were introduced to the concept of De-Evolution in 1979 through our purchase of the first DEVO album. In researching Maerth's "The Beginning Was the End," we learned that: 1. The bizarre cartoon face on the cover of said album is an amalgamation of golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez and four presidents (JFK, LBJ, Nixon and Gerald Ford); 2. Said album was recorded at Conny Plank's famous Krautrock studio in Cologne and remixed by David Bowie (after conflicts between the band and producer Brian Eno emerged). Who knew?