A Brief History of the Female Body: An Evolutionary Look at How and Why the Female Form Came to Be (Hardcover)

A Brief History of the Female Body: An Evolutionary Look at How and Why the Female Form Came to Be By Dr. Deena Emera Cover Image

A Brief History of the Female Body: An Evolutionary Look at How and Why the Female Form Came to Be (Hardcover)


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From breasts and orgasms to periods, pregnancies, and menopause—A Brief History of the Female Body is a fascinating science book explaining the mysteries of the female body through an evolutionary lens.

Let's face it: The female body is an enigma. For teenagers first experiencing their periods, the monthly arrival of mood swings and cramps can be agonizing and inconvenient. With pregnancy—perhaps the most miraculous of bodily events—comes countless potential complications, including high blood pressure, diabetes, premature birth, and postpartum depression. And menopause is equally mystifying. Why do females lose their fertility over time and experience the notorious side effects—like hot flashes, weight gain, and hair loss—while males maintain their fertility forever?

Evolutionary geneticist and educator Dr. Deena Emera has spent much of her career studying the evolution of female reproduction. A Brief History of the Female Body draws on her vast expertise as a biologist, her experience as a mother of four children, and her love of teaching to look far into our evolutionary past, illuminating how and, more importantly, why the female form has transformed over millions of years and its effects on women's health.

"In this excellent and engaging book, Emera probes the mysteries and mythology of the female body both through the eyes of an evolutionary biologist and a mother. Her delightful prose and keen insights make for a uniquely enjoyable gynecologic journey of discovery." — Jonathan Reisman, M.D., author of The Unseen Body: A Doctor’s Journey Through the Hidden Wonders of Human Anatomy

"Understanding ourselves begins with understanding our biology. In this important book, Deena Emera guides us on a journey through the past, present, and future of the female body. It’s a story with profound implications not just for women, but for all of us." — Jamie Metzl, author of Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity

"At last! Now that women like Deena Emera are studying evolutionary biology and medicine we get to read books like A Brief History of the Female Body. Deena provides timely and well-informed summaries and discussion of topics women care about within the spheres that actually matter to us." — Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, author of Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection

"A Brief History of the Female Body is a wonderful book giving insights into the biological struggle between mother and child, why you have breasts, orgasms, periods, and menopause. This is a must read for every woman and those who love her." — Louann Brizendine M.D., New York Times bestselling author of The Female Brain and The Upgrade

"In this fascinating and hugely enjoyable book, Dr. Emera explores the deep past to shed light on the present and future of women’s health." — Lisa Mosconi, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of The XX Brain

"Deena Emera generously shares her personal perspectives as a scientist and a woman, telling her story and that of those living in female bodies in a conversational style peppered with humor, making a significant contribution to our understanding of the complexity of the female human body and its evolutionary origins. An educational and enjoyable read!" — Nancy Fugate Woods, BSN, PhD, FAAN, Professor Emerita, University of Washington School of Nursing

"Evolutionary biologist Deena Emera uses both her academic acumen and personal experience to reflect on significant basics of female experience—periods, breasts, orgasms, pregnancy, and menopause. Not only are her reflections valuable to anyone interested in women’s health as an important subset of women’s studies, but they can literally assist the reader in putting her personal experience into perspective." — Angela Barron McBride, PhD, RN, author and Distinguished Professor Emerita, Indiana University

"In A Brief History of the Female Body, Dr. Emera addresses many questions that women raise to better understand their bodies and their health, making this engaging book a must-read for women of all ages, including professionals who care about providing quality health care and understanding of bodily transitions for women." — Vivian W. Pinn, M.D., women’s health research advocate