Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography

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$29.95  $27.85
Harvard University Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.3 X 1.0 inches | 1.19 pounds

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About the Author
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.
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.-- (10/04/2019)
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.--Publishers Weekly (starred review) (08/08/2019)
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.--Robert M. Sapolsky, author of Behave
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.--Dorothy Roberts, author of Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century
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.--Cordelia Fine, author of Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society
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.--Thomas Page McBee, author of Amateur: A Reckoning with Gender, Identity, and Masculinity
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.--John P. A. Ioannidis, Stanford University
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.--Sari van Anders, Queen's University
A deeply researched and thoughtful book that adds a fresh perspective to a growing body of work aiming to debunk myths about hormones.--Nature (10/22/2019)
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.--Erika Lorraine Milam"Science" (11/01/2019)
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 (12/07/2019)
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.--TechCrunch (12/03/2019)
Karkazis and Jordan-Young seek to expose several false narratives about their subject...Testosterone is an extended exercise in myth busting.--Outside (12/08/2019)
Debunks common myths about the functions and foibles of testosterone.--Mary Rosillo"Cooper Square Review" (01/07/2020)
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.--Robert Stirrups"The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology" (03/01/2020)