Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Birth of the Pill - Jonathan Eig

Sub-title: How four crusaders reinvented sex and launched a revolution

I heard about this book in a NYT book review and got it from the library.  It's a fascinating history of the development of "the Pill" the oral contraceptive pill for women.  It's eye opening to realize how little control women had over their own bodies.  Abortion was a frequent option. Women would be pregnant most of their adult life having an average of over 4 children and often 8 to 12.

The book focuses on four principal characters who were instrumental in the development and availability of the pill; Margaret Sanger, founder, among other accomplishments of Planned Parenthood; Gregory Goodwin Pincus, the scientist who figured out the formula; John Rock, the catholic physician who oversaw trials in Puerto Rico and pleaded the case with the church and Katherine McCormick, the heiress who bankrolled it.

I think the book is important reading for today's generation to appreciate the impact it has had on women.  The anecdotes from women desperate to not have more children, the attitudes of husbands at the time, the corners that were cut to bring the product to market are perspectives little thought of today.  A great history lesson.


Published: 2014  Read: February 2015  Genre: History


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