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Testosterone

An Unauthorized Biography

Rebecca M. Jordan-Young, Katrina Karkazis

ISBN 9780674271081

Publication date: 06/14/2022

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.”
Nature

“An extended exercise in myth busting.”
Outside

“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.”
The Observer

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.”
Science

Praise

  • 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.

    —Linda Roland Danil, Los Angeles Review of Books

Awards

  • 2020, Winner of the Independent Publisher Book Awards

Authors

  • Rebecca M. Jordan-Young is a sociomedical scientist and Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences, which won the Distinguished Book Award from the Association for Women in Psychology, and was a Guggenheim Fellow.
  • Katrina Karkazis is a cultural anthropologist who spent fifteen years at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. A Guggenheim Fellow, she is Professor of Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies at Amherst College and a Senior Research Fellow with the Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale University.

Book Details

  • 288 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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