"Scholarly, comprehensive, but sprightly and readable ... a major piece of historical reclamation and discovery which will interest socioloists, historians and social anthropologists as well as less specialist readers ... He is mercifully free from the domination of French doctrinaires like M Foucault ... As McLaren shows with a mastery of his material that never palls, there have been attempts at fertility control since the era of the Greek city states. The emphasis he gives to women′s experience of contraception, and to women′s own efforts at fertillity control before the twentieth century, is particularly sensitive, shrewd and salutary." Nature > "A seasoned and sensitive scholar ... Angus McLaren deserves our thanks for integrating recent scholarship in demographic, family and gender history, to set the politics of procreation within its wider rationales." TLS "... clear and compelling ... strongly challenging the reader′s commonsense idea of effective contraception as a product of modern times. McLaren, a Canadian historian, makes excellent use of both primary sources and British and American secondary work as well as his own research". Choice
From the Back Cover
This bookm the first history of contraception for almost fifty years, provides a scholarly and highly readable account of procreation and attempts to prevent it from ancient Greece to the late twentieth century. The story, as the author shows, is not one of unalleviated progress, and anything but a simple passage from ignorance to enlightenment. Marshalling evidence from demography, medicine, literature, religious, family and women′s history, he shows both that the idea of limiting progeny is ever–present in humna history and that mnay contraceptive practices have endured for at least two and a half millennia. In cosidering questions of both motivation and method, Angus McLaren reveals the intimate interactions between reproductive decision–making on the one hand and social, economic, political and gender relationaships on the other.