Jonathan Eig is the New York Times best-selling author of four books: Luckiest Man, Opening Day, Get Capone, and, most recently, The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution. He is currently working on a biography of Muhammad Ali.
From the author's Q & A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: Why did you decide to write a book about the history of the birth control pill, and how did you choose to focus on those particular four people?Learn more about the book and author at Jonathan Eig's website.
A: There’s a long story behind how I came to this topic, which you can read here if you want the whole deal.
The short answer is that I heard a rabbi say more than a decade ago that he considered the birth-control one of—if not THE—most important inventions of the twentieth century, and after I thought it about a bit, it struck me as strange that I knew nothing of how it was invented.
Upon further reflection, it struck me as even more strange that anyone would invent a pill designed to liberate women when it was men who controlled all of science, business and government in the 1950s and when birth control was essentially illegal.
That got my curiosity going. When I began looking into it, I found these great characters at the heart of the story, all of them outsiders, rebels, dreamers, all of them taking on extraordinary risks to accomplish something that many considered impossible.
Choosing these four particular protagonists—Margaret Sanger, Gregory Pincus, Katharine McCormick, and John Rock—was not particularly difficult. Other people played important roles, but these four stood out. Take away any one of them, and there is no pill.
Also, each of these four truly qualified as...[read on]
The Page 99 Test: The Birth of the Pill.