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Love, Sex, Freedom and the Paradox of the Pill: A Brief History of Birth Control

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The birth control pill has been called the most important scientific advance of the 20th century. It has been credited, and blamed, with unleashing the sexual revolution, transforming gender roles, redefining marriage and reinventing the modern family. So it's all the more remarkable that something so potent is so misunderstood. This book traces the invention of the Pill h The birth control pill has been called the most important scientific advance of the 20th century. It has been credited, and blamed, with unleashing the sexual revolution, transforming gender roles, redefining marriage and reinventing the modern family. So it's all the more remarkable that something so potent is so misunderstood. This book traces the invention of the Pill half a century ago by its unlikely pioneers from the early feminists looking for a way to free women from the fears of frequent childbirth to a prominent Catholic doctor who was seeking a treatment for infertility and instead found a guarantee of it. It traces the social upheavals that coincided with the Pill's arrival and asks which ones it actually caused. It follows the unfolding attitudes of women toward the first form of contraception that they could totally control—and the backlash in recent years among social conservatives who once welcomed the pill as a blessing and now challenge it as a threat. And it explores the social, political and philosophical issues that men and women face when considering the most private questions of family life.


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The birth control pill has been called the most important scientific advance of the 20th century. It has been credited, and blamed, with unleashing the sexual revolution, transforming gender roles, redefining marriage and reinventing the modern family. So it's all the more remarkable that something so potent is so misunderstood. This book traces the invention of the Pill h The birth control pill has been called the most important scientific advance of the 20th century. It has been credited, and blamed, with unleashing the sexual revolution, transforming gender roles, redefining marriage and reinventing the modern family. So it's all the more remarkable that something so potent is so misunderstood. This book traces the invention of the Pill half a century ago by its unlikely pioneers from the early feminists looking for a way to free women from the fears of frequent childbirth to a prominent Catholic doctor who was seeking a treatment for infertility and instead found a guarantee of it. It traces the social upheavals that coincided with the Pill's arrival and asks which ones it actually caused. It follows the unfolding attitudes of women toward the first form of contraception that they could totally control—and the backlash in recent years among social conservatives who once welcomed the pill as a blessing and now challenge it as a threat. And it explores the social, political and philosophical issues that men and women face when considering the most private questions of family life.

30 review for Love, Sex, Freedom and the Paradox of the Pill: A Brief History of Birth Control

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    This is less of a book and more of a long essay that highlights some of the history of the birth control pill, and touches on some of the social, religious, and political effects of its approval in 1960. I've read several of the books cited in this essay, and there is much more to discuss in those books than there is in this one. It's a great introduction to the key players as well as some of the issues that not everyone thinks about with regards to the Pill, but it's not as long or complete as This is less of a book and more of a long essay that highlights some of the history of the birth control pill, and touches on some of the social, religious, and political effects of its approval in 1960. I've read several of the books cited in this essay, and there is much more to discuss in those books than there is in this one. It's a great introduction to the key players as well as some of the issues that not everyone thinks about with regards to the Pill, but it's not as long or complete as I had hoped it would be (despite the "brief" descriptor in the title.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This was a quick read, similar to a NYTimes Magazine piece, but it was an interesting discussion of the history of the birth control pill. The most interesting thing I learned was that initially, many within the Catholic church leadership were in favor of it, even perhaps a majority, but the Pope at the time was not, so that is why the church maintains a stance against it. Even though, by the 1970's, 70% of Catholic women were using some form of birth control and many were using the pill. This was a quick read, similar to a NYTimes Magazine piece, but it was an interesting discussion of the history of the birth control pill. The most interesting thing I learned was that initially, many within the Catholic church leadership were in favor of it, even perhaps a majority, but the Pope at the time was not, so that is why the church maintains a stance against it. Even though, by the 1970's, 70% of Catholic women were using some form of birth control and many were using the pill.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christine Ho

    fascinating essay on how the pill has changed women's role in society. although gloria steinem seems to disagree on the impact of the pill, my own personal observations as well as the observations related in this well-written essay show otherwise. the pill was in the right place at the right time, which was right around significant women's lib and the 60's liberation. loved this essay. fascinating essay on how the pill has changed women's role in society. although gloria steinem seems to disagree on the impact of the pill, my own personal observations as well as the observations related in this well-written essay show otherwise. the pill was in the right place at the right time, which was right around significant women's lib and the 60's liberation. loved this essay.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Daisy

    This kindle single was interesting however did not delve into the current paradoxes of the pill. If you've read Malcolm Gladwells "what the dog saw" then alot of the content has already been covered. A good article more than a book to read in an hour or so max. This kindle single was interesting however did not delve into the current paradoxes of the pill. If you've read Malcolm Gladwells "what the dog saw" then alot of the content has already been covered. A good article more than a book to read in an hour or so max.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark Moran

    A quick look that is well read but left me wanting much more.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shantell Kersten

    Very interesting. Made me want to study sociology again sometime.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    We read this one for Book Club and I found it really informative!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Therese Kennelly

  9. 5 out of 5

    Muhammad Lateef

  10. 5 out of 5

    Martha Mendoza

  11. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsey

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kylie

  14. 5 out of 5

    Molly Johnstone

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meg Robertson

  16. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Anderson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chessie

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  21. 4 out of 5

    McPhaul M.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paul Damian

  25. 5 out of 5

    Charm_rio

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bernie Wolfard

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marti

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Austin

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

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