An Independent Publisher Book Awards Gold Medal Winner
A Progressive Book of the Year
A TechCrunch Favorite Read of the Year
“Deeply researched and thoughtful.”
“An extended exercise in myth busting.”
“A critique of both popular and scientific understandings of the hormone, and how they have been used to explain, or even defend, inequalities of power.”
Testosterone is a familiar villain, a ready culprit for everything from stock market crashes to the overrepresentation of men in prisons. But your testosterone level doesn’t actually predict your appetite for risk, sex drive, or athletic prowess. It isn’t the biological essence of manliness—in fact, it isn’t even a male sex hormone. So what is it, and how did we come to endow it with such superhuman powers?
T’s story begins when scientists first went looking for the chemical essence of masculinity. Over time, it provided a handy rationale for countless behaviors—from the boorish to the enviable. Testosterone focuses on what T does in six domains: reproduction, aggression, risk-taking, power, sports, and parenting, addressing heated debates like whether high-testosterone athletes have a natural advantage as well as disagreements over what it means to be a man or woman.
“This subtle, important book forces rethinking not just about one particular hormone but about the way the scientific process is embedded in social context.”
—Robert M. Sapolsky, author of Behave
“A beautifully written and important book. The authors present strong and persuasive arguments that demythologize and defetishize T as a molecule containing quasi-magical properties, or as exclusively related to masculinity and males.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books
“Provides fruitful ground for understanding what it means to be human, not as isolated physical bodies but as dynamic social beings.”
A beautifully written and important book. The authors present strong and persuasive arguments that demythologize and defetishize T as a molecule containing quasi-magical properties, or as exclusively related to masculinity and males.
A critique of both popular and scientific understandings of the hormone, and how they have been used to explain, or even defend, inequalities of power.
A deeply researched and thoughtful book that adds a fresh perspective to a growing body of work aiming to debunk myths about hormones.
In [the authors’] hands, testosterone provides fruitful ground for understanding what it means to be human, not as isolated physical bodies but as dynamic social beings.
Eye-opening…Readers interested in the messiness of the relationship between hormones and behavior, and willing to consider that science can be far from neutral and objective, will find high-density food for thought in [this] stimulating work.
Given the increasing attention to these issues, the book’s auspicious timing and deeply researched foundations are already having a huge effect on an important cultural conversation today.
Jordan-Young and Karkazis tear through influential studies, ripping apart notions such as that high levels of testosterone help businessmen make the risky deals that win fortunes…Fascinating.
Karkazis and Jordan-Young seek to expose several false narratives about their subject…Testosterone is an extended exercise in myth busting.
Debunks common myths about the functions and foibles of testosterone.
A refreshing counternarrative to the urban legends that have muddied the waters between fact and fiction…A powerful testament to the continued need for an interdisciplinary dialogue surrounding the study of sex hormones.
A fascinating attempt to cast doubt on some of the more popular ideas about testosterone, but the book is really more about the messy complexity of science itself, and how science interacts with the wider culture and is shaped by it.
Tells not only a more accurate story about testosterone but also an infinitely more interesting one…An excellent book.
Offers an intricately researched and fresh illustration of testosterone’s narrative, one that has been long overdue for a makeover…Testosterone is insightful scholarship for critical researchers and an approachable read for enthusiasts.
It’s stimulating fun when the assumptions and interpretations of scientific findings must undergo major revision. It’s more than just fun when that revisionism concerns a subject rife with sociopolitical implications with a history of doing harm. Jordan-Young and Karkazis ably take on this task with respect to the perpetual misinterpretation of what testosterone has to do with behavior, a subject at the intersection of masculinity, gender, aggression, hierarchy, race, and class. This subtle, important book forces rethinking not just about one particular hormone, but about the way the scientific process is embedded in social context.
With Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography, we can add testosterone folklore to the mythology claiming that biology determines our character, behavior, and status. Jordan-Young and Karkazis brilliantly show how a wide range of popular beliefs and scientific research about testosterone support dangerous gender, race, and class stereotypes that blame biological differences for inequalities of power. They compel us to think more critically not only about T, but also, more broadly, about the fraught relationship between biology and social identity.
A brilliant book. With a rare combination of meticulous scholarship and page-turner style, Jordan-Young and Karkazis unravel, dissect, and ultimately explode the traditional story of testosterone. This book provides a revelation on every page, and readers will finish with a far richer understanding of the complexities of both testosterone and science.
Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography shines an urgently needed light on our collective, troubling myth-making about a hormone blamed for everything from male aggression to unfair advantage in athletic competition. Through rigorous analysis and a transcendent examination of cultural narratives, it not only reexamines and challenges some of our core beliefs about T; it also traces the way bias about gender is foundational to the science used to uphold those narratives. Eye-opening, accessible, and intelligent, this book will change the way you think about masculinities, race and class, and maybe even your own body.
Testosterone science does not mix well with biases, social preconceptions, and politics of all sorts. Jordan-Young and Karkazis provide a thoughtful overview of testosterone myths—their deep roots and grave consequences.
Everyone knows that testosterone is what makes men men, and too much testosterone is what makes some men toxic—or is it? In this timely and urgent book, Jordan-Young and Karkazis take us on a roller-coaster ride through what we know, what we think we know, and what we need to know about that most quixotic of substances: testosterone.
- 2020, Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Awards
- 288 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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