Medical History of Contraception

Norman E. Himes, Rajsons, 2002, xxxii, 521 p, tables, figs, ISBN : 8179190021, $66.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Medical History of Contraception/Norman E. Himes

Contents: Foreword/Robert Latou Dickinson. Introduction. I. Contraceptive technique before the dawn of written history : 1. Preliterate societies. II. Contraceptive technique in antiquity (Western World) : 2. The Egyptians. 3. The Bible and the Talmud. 4. Greek and Roman writers. III. Contraceptive technique in Eastern cultures: 5. China, India and Japan. IV. Technique in the west during the middle ages and early modern times : 6. The Islamic world and Europe during the middle ages. 7. European folk beliefs and lay literature from 1400 on. 8. History of the Condom or Sheath. V. Democratization of technique since 1800 in England and the United States : 9. The early birth-control movement in England and the United States. 10. Democratization by publicity. 11. Mid-nineteenth century American writers. 12. Later medical writers. VI. Democratization and its future effects : 13. The result: democratized birth control. 14. Probable effects of democratized contraception. 15. Conclusion. Bibliography. Index.

"It is commonly supposed, even in well-informed circles, that birth control is very recent, ultra modern. This is an error—as this book aims to show. Just how old is it?

Contrary to what is often assumed, contraception is very far from being a modern invention, or merely a response to recent birth-control propaganda on the part of the public in pursuit of some new thing. The author shows that a desire, even if sometimes unconscious, for birth restriction dates back to prehistoric times, half a million years ago, and that some form of practice soon followed as an automatic adjustment.

That the members of cultures disdaining sterility, for example, most primitive peoples, the ancient Hebrews, and modern Orientals, have longed for controlled reproduction is a cultural fact which has not heretofore been realized sufficiently. This survey seems to show that men and women have always longed for both fertility and sterility, each at its appointed time and in its chosen circumstances.

This book is an invaluable document for those medical students who are working in the field of birth control and contraception. It is equally useful for the students of sociology, particularly those who are working in the area of population control. Past practices after all can teach a lot to all of us." (jacket)

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