Hot Flushes, Cold Science: A History of the Modern Menopause

Louise Foxcroft

Hot Flushes, Cold Science: A History of the Modern Menopause

For over two thousand years, attitudes to the menopause have created dread, shame and confusion. This meticulously researched and always entertaining book traces the history of 'the change of life' from its appearance in classical texts, to the medical literature of the 18th century, to up-to-the-minute contemporary clinical approaches. Its progression from natural phenomenon to full-blown pathological condition from the 1700s led to bizarre treatments and often dangerous surgery, and formalized a misogyny which lingers in the treatment of menopausal women today.Louise Foxcroft delves into the archives, the boudoir and the Gladstone bag to reveal the elements that formed the menopause myth: chauvinism, collusion, trial, error and secrecy. She challenges us to rethink absurd assumptions that have persisted through history - that sex stops at the menopause, or that aging should be feared. This story belongs to everybody, certainly to every woman. It redresses the myths and captures the truths about menopause in a powerful, taboo-shattering history. 4.0 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Hot Flushes, Cold Science: A History of the Modern Menopause

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Health & Medical, Family & Lifestyle
Format Paperback
Pages 336
RRP £14.99
Date of Publication March 2009
ISBN 978-1847080660
Publisher Granta
 

For over two thousand years, attitudes to the menopause have created dread, shame and confusion. This meticulously researched and always entertaining book traces the history of 'the change of life' from its appearance in classical texts, to the medical literature of the 18th century, to up-to-the-minute contemporary clinical approaches. Its progression from natural phenomenon to full-blown pathological condition from the 1700s led to bizarre treatments and often dangerous surgery, and formalized a misogyny which lingers in the treatment of menopausal women today.Louise Foxcroft delves into the archives, the boudoir and the Gladstone bag to reveal the elements that formed the menopause myth: chauvinism, collusion, trial, error and secrecy. She challenges us to rethink absurd assumptions that have persisted through history - that sex stops at the menopause, or that aging should be feared. This story belongs to everybody, certainly to every woman. It redresses the myths and captures the truths about menopause in a powerful, taboo-shattering history.

Reviews

The Scotsman

Mary Crockett

[A] gripping study... Foxcroft's serious point is this: it's folly to go chasing eternal youth, especially when that involves invasive procedures or, worse, HRT – she details research into its side-effects, and the confusing evidence on cancer and heart disease, concluding that HRT's effectiveness is "a delusion, and an expensive one at that".

21/03/2009

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The Guardian

Claire Armistead

The sources she quotes are relentlessly dismaying. In 1841, for instance, a leading American physician described how "as the peculiarities of women cease, the breasts collapse, the skin shrivels the cheeks and neck wither, the eyes recede in their sockets, they become remarkably corpulent". His "medical" summary is less than a crooked mile from the "withered and wild" weird sisters of Shakespeare's Macbeth.

28/03/2009

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The Independent

Gail Vines

Louise Foxcroft, the historian, recounts this sorry history of the menopause in a brave and scholarly way... "So much depends on how you view your own menopause," Foxcroft says, and this is how knowledge of this history can help. "The future of the menopause lies in self-management," she argues. "The point, surely, is the freedom, as [Simone] de Beauvoir put it, to coincide with yourself."

31/03/2009

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The Literary Review

Joan Smith

[A] lively and well-researched book... Most of the ideas you will encounter about the menopause have been informed and distorted by the most grotesque misogyny, stretching back two and a half thousand years, which she documents in forensic detail... Down the years too many women have listened to this sort of tosh instead of talking to older women who've actually experienced the menopause. Louise Foxcroft's book is an essential counterblast

01/03/2009

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The Observer

Virginia Smith

Liberate yourself from your fears is Foxcroft's final message. Ageing is not a disease and affects both sexes. The best treatment seems to be to manage the aches and pains and fork out for the beauty treatments. Anthropology seems to back up this classical hygienic view of low-level management. It is western Caucasian women who experience the worst menopausal symptoms. African and south east Asian women have far less trouble.

29/03/2009

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