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Woman: An Intimate Geographyby Natalie Angier
Synopses & Reviews
Natalie Angier's Woman enchanted readers and critics everywhere and marked an important shift in feminist consciousness. This self-proclaimed "scientific fantasia of womanhood" moves beyond the polemics of the '80's and '90's toward an enlightened subversiveness that "gives feminism a cheerful, evolutionary twist" (Katha Pollitt, The Nation).
Woman is a mesmerizing anatomy and physiology lesson that culminates in a fascinating revelation about the ways in which cultural biases have influenced research in evolutionary psychology (the study of the biological bases of behavior). In lively, elegant prose, Angier shows just how natural selection has been misused as a model for confirming gender stereotypes, such as the idea that women are innately monogamous while men are natural philanderers. In so doing, she has galvanized both scientific thought and feminist rhetoric, and deftly combined the two to ignite a new wave of feminism that scientists, feminists, and the media have aptly dubbed "liberation biology."
But Natalie Angier doesn't just point fingers, she offers optimistic alternatives, and Woman is a seminal work with universal appeal that "proposes revolutionary possibilities for both men and women" (Gloria Steinem). This is a book that will be read and discussed for many years to come, and that will endure as an essential read for anyone interested in how biology affects who we are — as women, as men, and as human beings.
"It's a book not just for women. With its massive data on the working biology of both sexes, skepticism of dominant theories about dominant males, and candor about the speculative quality of its own feminist hypotheses, it stands as a benchmark in male-female relations in the late 20th century." USA Today
"A treasure chest of did-you-knows...hits the bull's-eye every time." Newsweek
"A tantalizing, witty journey through female biology, debunking many entrenched stereotypes and myths and a lot of questionable science." Salon
"Natalie Angier has that rare dual talent: a true passion for science combined with a poet's linguistic flair. In this lively dissection of womanhood, she places everything from estrogen to the politics of motherhood beneath her flawlessly focused microscope, offering innumerable tidbits both surprising and fascinating." People, Book of the Week
"Intimate and idiosyncratic...dismantles the misogynist mythologies once advanced as the scientific gospel of the female body...Angier's brilliant and witty fantasia will inspire women to believe in their powers." The Boston Globe
"Natalie Angier's dazzling new book calls upon biology and evolution to celebrate the female body. Its upbeat message. . . is supported by rigorous scientific underpinnings." The New York Times
"A tour de force, a wonderful, entertaining and informative book." The New York Times Book Review
"Angier's Woman is as good as it gets." Los Angeles Times
"If Our Bodies, Ourselves has become the bible of women's bodies, let Woman: An Intimate Geography be our Shakespeare." Peggy Orenstein, Elle
"The chief manifesto of the new 'femaleist' thinking." Time
A new and updated edition of Natalie Angier's best-selling tour of the female body, published for its fifteen-year anniversary.
National Book Award finalist
A New York Times notable book
"A tour de force, a womderful, entertaining and informative book." —Abraham Verghese, New York Times Book Review
After fifteen years in print, Woman remains an essential guide to everything from organs to orgasms and hormones to hysterectomies. With her characteristic clarity, insight, and sheer exuberance of language, bestselling author Natalie Angier cuts through the still prevalent myths and misinformation surrounding the female body, that most enigmatic of evolutionary masterpieces. Woman is a witty and assured narrative tour de force with a reliable grasp of science.
Updated throughout and with a new introduction bringing readers up to date on the latest science in evolutionary psychology and hormone replacement therapy, this new edition of Woman reinvigorates Angier’s joyful vision of womanhood.
With clarity, insight, and panache, Natalie Angier explores that most enigmatic of evolutionary masterpieces, the female body. Incorporating new material on the latest science and changes in our understanding of evolutionary psychology, Angier guides readers through everything from organs to orgasm, hormones to hysterectomies.
In Woman, Angier shows how cultural biases have influenced evolutionary psychology and led to dubious conclusions about “female nature,” such as the idea that women are innately monogamous while men are philanderers. But she doesnt just point fingers; with enlightened subversiveness, she offers a joyful, fresh vision of womanhood. Woman is an essential read for anyone interested in how biology affects who we are—as women, as men, and as human beings.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -419) and index.
About the Author
Natalie Angier writes about biology for the New York Times, where she has won a Pulitzer Prize and other awards. Her previous books, which have received wide acclaim, are The Beauty of the Beastly and Natural Obsessions. She lives with her family in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Into the Light xxv
Unscrambling the Egg 1
It Begins with One Perfect Solar Cell
The Mosaic Imagination 19
Understanding the “Female” Chromosome
Default Line 40
Is the Female Body a Passive Construct?
The Well-Tempered Clavier 64
On the Evolution of the Clitoris
Suckers and Horns 93
The Prodigal Uterus
MASS HYSTERIA 124
Losing the Uterus
Circular Reasonings 138
The Story of the Breast
Holy Water 162
A Gray and Yellow Basket 182
The Bounteous Ovary
Greasing the Wheels 199
A Brief History of Hormones
Venus in Furs 217
Estrogen and Desire
Mindful Menopause 232
Can We Live Without Estrogen?
Theres No Place Like Notoriety 241
Mothers, Grandmothers, and Other Great Dames
Wolf Whistles and Hyena Smiles 266
Testosterone and Women
Spiking the Punch 294
In Defense of Female Aggression
Cheap Meat 319
Learning to Make a Muscle
Labor of Love 336
The Chemistry of Human Bondage
Of Hoggamus and Hogwash 360
Putting Evolutionary Psychology on the Couch
A Skeptic in Paradise 397
A Call for Revolutionary Psychology
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