Synopses & Reviews
In 1960, the FDA approved the contraceptive commonly known as the pill.” Advocates, developers, and manufacturers believed that the convenient new drug would put an end to unwanted pregnancy, ensure happy marriages, and even eradicate poverty. But as renowned historian Elaine Tyler May reveals in America and the Pill, it was women who embraced it and created change. They used the pill to challenge the authority of doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and lawmakers. They demonstrated that the pill was about much more than family planningit offered women control over their bodies and their lives. From little-known accounts of the early years to personal testimonies from young women today, May illuminates what the pill did and did not achieve during its half century on the market.
A revealing new look at the groundbreaking form of contraception that enabled women to control their lives and transform the world
The Northeastern United States -- home to abolitionism and a refuge for blacks fleeing the Jim Crow South -- has had a long and celebrated history of racial equality and political liberalism. After World War II, the region appeared poised to continue this legacy, electing black politicians and rallying behind black athletes and cultural leaders. However, as historian Jason Sokol reveals in All Eyes Are Upon Us
, these achievements obscured the harsh reality of a region riven by segregation and deep-seated racism.
White fans from across Brooklyn -- Irish, Jewish, and Italian -- came out to support Jackie Robinson when he broke baseball's color barrier with the Dodgers in 1947, even as the city's blacks were shunted into segregated neighborhoods. The African-American politician Ed Brooke won a senate seat in Massachusetts in 1966, when the state was 97% white, yet his political career was undone by the resistance to busing in Boston. Across the Northeast over the last half-century, blacks have encountered housing and employment discrimination as well as racial violence. But the gap between the northern ideal and the region's segregated reality left small but meaningful room for racial progress. Forced to reckon with the disparity between their racial practices and their racial preaching, blacks and whites forged interracial coalitions and demanded that the region live up to its promise of equal opportunity.
A revelatory account of the tumultuous modern history of race and politics in the Northeast, All Eyes Are Upon Us presents the Northeast as a microcosm of America as a whole: outwardly democratic, inwardly conflicted, but always striving to live up to its highest ideals.
In 1960, the FDA approved the oral contraceptive that would come to be known as the pill.” Within a few years, millions of women were using it. At a time when the population was surging, many believed that the drug would help eradicate poverty around the globe, ensure happy and stable marriages, and liberate women. America and the Pill reveals the ways in which the pill did and did not fulfill these utopian dreams, while also chronicling the stories of the creators, testers, and users who ultimately made the pill their own.
About the Author
Elaine Tyler May is Regents Professor in the Departments of American Studies and History at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of several books, including Homeward Bound and Barren in the Promised Land. She has contributed to Ms., the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and more. She is 2009-2010 President of the Organization of American Historians. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Table of Contents
1. Mothers of Invention
2. The Population Bomb
4. The Sexual Revolution
5. A Pill for Men?
6. Questioning Authority
7. The Pill Today