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On the Pill

A Social History of Oral Contraceptives, 1950-1970

Elizabeth Siegel Watkins

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"In 1968, a popular writer ranked the pill's importance with the discovery of fire and the developments of tool-making, hunting, agriculture, urbanism, scientific medicine, and nuclear energy. Twenty-five years later, the leading British weekly, the Economist, listed the pill as one of the seven wonders of the modern world. The image of the oral contraceptive as revolutionary persists in popular culture, yet the nature of the changes it supposedly brought about has not been fully investigated. After more than thirty-five years on the market, the role of the pill is due for a thorough…

"In 1968, a popular writer ranked the pill's importance with the discovery of fire and the developments of tool-making, hunting, agriculture, urbanism, scientific medicine, and nuclear energy. Twenty-five years later, the leading British weekly, the Economist, listed the pill as one of the seven wonders of the modern world. The image of the oral contraceptive as revolutionary persists in popular culture, yet the nature of the changes it supposedly brought about has not been fully investigated. After more than thirty-five years on the market, the role of the pill is due for a thorough examination."—from the Introduction

In this fresh look at the pill's cultural and medical history, Elizabeth Siegel Watkins re-examines the scientific and ideological forces that led to its development, the part women played in debates over its application, and the role of the media, medical profession, and pharmaceutical industry in deciding issues of its safety and meaning. Her study helps us not only to understand the contraceptive revolution as such but also to appreciate the misinterpretations that surround it.

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On the Pill

Elizabeth Siegel Watkins

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Reviews

Reviews

This is an exemplary study of how the nation which first had access to oral contraceptives first came to terms with their advantages, and their drawbacks.

Intelligent and well-structured... An admirable exercise in social history.

A particularly fascinating issue, trim and focused, sophisticated and helpful, fresh and very interesting.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
208
ISBN
9780801868214
Illustration Description
7 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1. Genesis of the Pill
Chapter 2. Physicians, Patients, and the New Oral Contraceptives
Chapter 3. Sex, Population, and the Pill
Chapter 4. Debating the Safety of the

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1. Genesis of the Pill
Chapter 2. Physicians, Patients, and the New Oral Contraceptives
Chapter 3. Sex, Population, and the Pill
Chapter 4. Debating the Safety of the Pill
Chapter 5. Oral Contraceptives and Informed Consent
Chapter 6. Conclusion
Notes
Bibliographical Essay
Index

Author Bio
Elizabeth Siegel Watkins
Featured Contributor

Elizabeth Siegel Watkins, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Siegel Watkins is a professor in the History of Health Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of On the Pill: A Social History of Oral Contraceptives, 1950–1970, also published by Johns Hopkins.