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The Whole Woman [Paperback]

Germaine Greer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Feb 2007

Germaine Greer proclaims that the time has come to get angry again! Modern feminism has become the victim of unenlightened complacency, and what started out in the Sixties as a movement for liberation has become one that has sought and settled for equality.

With fiery rhetoric, authoritative insight, outrageous humour and broad-ranging debate, Greer shows that, although women have indeed come a very long way in the last thirty years, the notion of our 'having it all' has disguised the persistent discrimination and exploitation that continues to exist for women in the basic areas of health, sex, politics, economics and marketing.

Erudite, eccentric, provocative and invigorating, Germaine Greer once again sets the agenda for the future of feminism. Here is all the polemical power that sold over a million copies of The Female Eunuch and kept its author at the heart of controversy ever since. The Whole Woman was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller for five weeks when it was first published in 1999, and was hailed by the critics as a 'polemical bomb' (Guardian) and as required reading for thinking adults everywhere.

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The Whole Woman + The Female Eunuch (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) + The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (1 Feb 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552774340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552774345
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

For women born in the immediate post-war period there were the years BG and AG--"before Greer" and "after Greer". It's all too easy to underestimate it's influence, but the fact is that in 1970 every self-respecting woman on the Left owned a copy of The Female Eunuch. Greer's book broke the ground that women of today stand on--her unique stance combined outrageous humour and assertiveness to lead the way forward for women who wanted to take control of their lives.

Thirty years later in The Whole Woman, Greer is ready to get angry again. Picking up where she left off, she analyses the invasive ways in which the health industry persuades women into having their bodies and reproductive systems "managed". Greer lays out the facts about the high failure rate and devastating side effects of in vitro fertilisation, and the incongruence between the "success" of breast implants in achieving the "perfect" mammary to please men and the continuing failures in detecting and treating increasingly prevalent breast cancer.

Greer's polemic has the confident virtuosity of wit and maturity. Celebrating women's successes, The Whole Woman is a more positive book than The Female Eunuch. Yet again, Greer has put her head above parapets others still fear to scale, and looked into the realities of the present as well as the possibilities for the future for the whole of women's lives. --Lisa Jardine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Into the pale politeness of post-feminism, Greer has thrown a polemical bomb . . . Greer's acid anger comes as a surprising reminder of what the point of a feminist book was meant to be. It is funny, unforgiving, unapologetic, unappeasing." (Decca Aitkenhead Guardian)

"Don't underestimate this book. Its power, like that of The Female Eunuch, lies in the virtuosity and wit of its questions. Its capacity will force us to stop and think." (Lisa Jardine Observer)

"Three cheers for Greer . . . She makes every other feminist writer look like pallid fast food, devoid of vitamins and roughage." (Lesley Garner Evening Standard)

"This is a serious book which it is impossible to be neutral about." (Gemma Hussey Irish Independent)

"Reading The Whole Woman has been a mega-vitamin shot. I feel rearmed, revitalised." (Cath Kenneally The Australian)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and Weep 5 Mar 2002
By mfdb
Book review: Gemaine Greer, The Whole Woman
"You've come a long way baby!" Remember the cigarette ad from the 70s? To hear Germaine Greer tell it we haven't, unless progress is having won the right to smoke thin cigarettes in public and take our chemotherapy like a man.
Since writing The Female Eunuch, Dr. Greer is still angry after these thirty-two years--with good reason. In The Whole Woman, Greer carefully and wittily lays out excruciating truths. Women still earn 60% of a man's salary and shoulder most of the household tasks including child rearing. When fathers abscond it's the single impoverished mothers who bear the blame for rearing the maladapted children that contribute to the ills of society.
Greer also states that the incidence of rape, sexual harassment and domestic violence is much higher than it was thirty years ago. In all cultures, women (especially when pregnant) continue to be insulted, threatened, molested, beaten, raped and murdered by men with impunity.
So just how far have we come? Are the starved, hobbled, high-heeled, battered celebrity babes with their lifted faces, tucked tummies and liposuctioned hips our new role models? Has boob inflation replaced bra burning as the symbol of liberation?
Erudite, witty and unapologetic The Whole Woman is better than a shot of HRT. Read it and weep.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is essential reading. 19 Jan 2002
By A Customer
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It ought to be compulsory reading for all complacent women (and men) who, for some inexplicable reason, believe that we live in an egalitarian society.
The goals that feminism set out to achieve have not yet been realised. In "The Whole Woman", Greer forces readers to face up to this fact with a venom and passion that cannot fail to inspire. You may not agree with all her arguments, but there is no avoiding the fact that Greer will force you to examine your stance on feminism and equality.
I know many women my age (27)who cannot bear the word feminism and its connotations. To them I can only say one thing: sit up and take notice. This book ought to change your life.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flashes of brilliance and loony paranoia 17 May 1999
By A Customer
Poor old Germaine! Just when you're thumping the page and crying a quasi orgasmic "yes! yes!" she lets you down in the next chapter with a diatribe on some imagined male conspiracy against women. Hers is a brain that takes logical arguments to such an extreme that, eventually, she loses the plot entirely. It's a shame, because when she gets it right there is no-one to compare with her. I was disappointed that she has done such an about turn on the subject of female circumcision, and amazed that her usually well-toned encephalon didn't grasp the glaring truth. It's so blind to justify the act on the grounds that women themselves perform the operation. Of course they do! They have no choice. They are impoverished and uneducated and if they don't mutilate their fannies they won't find a man to rescue them from the gutter. Now THAT is the kind of invidious sexual injustice that I would expect Germaine Greer to challenge. Instead, she concentrates her energies on implying some Orwellian subjugation lies behind health screening for women in this country. Women, she says, are being falsely alarmed about their bodies and this fear is disempowering. I would have thought women can only be empowered by improved healthcare. Isn't it more alarming that testicular cancer is one of the greatest modern killers, but we hardly dare mention it because, well, it's embarrassing! The chapter on fathers is great, and Greer at her best. She shows a softer side here, and one we always suspected was lurking under her pissed-off exterior. In spite of the mass of contradictions, I'd still recommend this book. It is intelligent (rather than academic) in an appealingly chaotic way and, even if your disagree with most of what is written, at least it fires you up.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Womens Bible 29 Oct 2003
This is a book no female should be without. More importantly one that should be passed onto our daughters. To read this book is to realise that the freedom you think you are living is false. As a free woman, or so I thought, I am now empowered to move myself into freedom and take my daughters with me. The words written in this book will open your eyes and make you realise just how oppressed modern women today really are, and the irony of this is they think they are free willed and have chosen freely in living the lives they have chosen. You don't have to be a feminist to read this book, read and be empowered! Yours in sisterhood.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Reading this prompted me to go back to The Female Eunuch. If anything, this latest is an even more accessible, readable and witty book and makes a greater impact for that. We should all share the author's frustration at what has happened, and failed to happen, since those heady days of hopeful feminist struggle. So much for post-feminism. This book should be required reading in all schools, for young men as much as young women.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I think this is an important book. It seems to me that having made many revolutionary advances in the worlds of work, education and society, women have been happy to give up their struggle for equality with men and the whole ethos of being a successful female has become part of a dog-eat-dog world where women will dive head first into a sex war with men in order to come out on top, and not give a shit whether there are other women struggling to get anywhere. And this is the problem; women no longer carer for each other, there is no longer a "sisterhood", as men have a "brotherhood". Greer is quite right; it is time to get angry again. And this time women should get angry with women fror that very reason. But what does this have to do with this book? Well, I feel it is not only a unifying work (ie. Greer puts forward a series of beliefs which other women, and men, can relate to as a starting point for a way forward), but as many others have said, if you don't agree with her, you are always left feeling that you want to take her on. This is good. If feminists can recognise their differences and compromise them they will be one step forward to taking action against the many inequalities which remain in western society. Books like this provide an effective starting point for salubrious (and long overdue) action, and I personally hope many responses follow.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Germaine's books
If you like what Germaine Greer has to say than buy it - if you dont' - then don't. Its very good book and several £'s cheaper than say WH Smiths
Published 6 months ago by Lees
5.0 out of 5 stars Loveit love it
All men and all women should read this book once a year :-) Germaine Greer is such a fantastic writer and woman.
Published 20 months ago by Snowy
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing
This book changed the way I saw myself, men and feminism for the better. An absolute life changer. A Wise and funny approach to some pretty intense issues. Amazing.
Published 21 months ago by Lucy lu
1.0 out of 5 stars So disappointing
I have read and read this book over so many years.. I have the hard back version. I find it so sad that it displays the worst form of trans-phobia available in literary form. Read more
Published on 17 Nov 2011 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A revolution of thought; provocative and unapologetic
I thoroughly enjoyed this work; the first of Greer's I have read. The introduction to feminism left me refreshed and redefined my ideas of myself, my role in society and the... Read more
Published on 3 Feb 2003 by "beachruthy"
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking
So many things I'd never even thought about are considered and discussed. It's opened my eyes to the wider issues of being female and what the consequences are for those around... Read more
Published on 20 Aug 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book - I couldn't put it down.
Germaine Greer explains fluidly and factually how, despite the enduring efforts of many women, men still retain most of the power and priviledge in our society. Read more
Published on 27 April 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A depressing and inspiring read - get out there and fight
Its hard to fault most of Greer's arguments. Despite being a man I can relate to most of them. This book is both depressing and inspiring. Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2001 by
4.0 out of 5 stars You Go, Girl!
In this day and age of so-called "political correctness", it is refreshing to have a book like The Whole Woman come along. Read more
Published on 7 Jan 2001
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