The Birth of the Pill : How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution
by Jonathan Eig

Overview - A Washington Post '50 Notable Works of Nonfiction & Best Science Books 2014' A Chicago Tribune 'Nonfiction Books to Gift 2014' A Slate 'Best Books 2014: Staff Picks' A Booklist '2014 Editor's Choice' & 'Top 10 Science and Health Books of 2014' A St.  Read more...

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More About The Birth of the Pill by Jonathan Eig
AWashington Post '50 Notable Works of Nonfiction & Best Science Books 2014' AChicago Tribune 'Nonfiction Books to Gift 2014' ASlate 'Best Books 2014: Staff Picks' ABooklist '2014 Editor's Choice' & 'Top 10 Science and Health Books of 2014' ASt. Louis Post-Dispatch 'Best Books of 2014: Nonfiction' The fascinating story of one of the most important scientific discoveries of the twentieth century.

  • ISBN-13: 9780393073720
  • ISBN-10: 0393073726
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Publish Date: October 2014
  • Page Count: 400
  • Dimensions: 9.8 x 6.41 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.61 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Science > History
Books > Medical > History
Books > Social Science > Abortion & Birth Control

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-07-21
  • Reviewer: Staff

Former Wall Street Journal reporter Eig (Luckiest Man) blends the story of the “only product in American history so powerful that it needed no name” with the lives of the four-larger-than-life characters who dreamed, funded, researched, and tested it. Eig recapitulates much of what’s known about the discovery of oral contraceptives and adds a wealth of unfamiliar material. He frames his story around the brilliant Gregory Pincus, who was let go by Harvard after his controversial work on in-vitro fertilization; charismatic Catholic fertility doctor John Rock, who developed a treatment that blocked ovulation and, with Pincus, began human testing (including on nonconsenting asylum patients); and the two fearless women who paid for and supported their work, rebellious women’s rights crusader and Planned Parenthood pioneer Margaret Sanger and her intellectual heiress, Katharine Dexter McCormick. The twists and turns of producing a birth control pill in the mid-20th century mirrored astonishing changes in the cultural landscapes: Eig notes how, in July 1959, the publication of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and G.D. Searle’s request for FDA approval of Enovid presaged a “tidal wave that would sweep away the nation’s culture of restraint.” Eig’s fascinating narrative of medical innovation paired so perfectly with social revolution befits a remarkable chapter of human history. (Oct.)

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