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Did you know that breast milk contains substances similar to cannabis? Or that it's sold on the Internet for 262 times the price of oil? Feted and fetishized, the breast is an evolutionary masterpiece. But in the modern world, the breast is changing. Breasts are getting bigger, arriving earlier, and attracting newfangled chemicals. Increasingly, the odds are stacked against us in the struggle with breast cancer, even among men. What makes breasts so mercurial - and so vulnerable?
In this informative and highly entertaining account, intrepid science reporter Florence Williams sets out to uncover the latest scientific findings from the fields of anthropology, biology, and medicine. Her investigation follows the life cycle of the breast from puberty to pregnancy to menopause, taking her from a plastic surgeon's office, where she learns about the importance of cup size in Texas, to the laboratory, where she discovers the presence of environmental toxins in her own breast milk. The result is a fascinating exploration of where breasts came from, where they have ended up, and what we can do to save them.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Zack on 06-21-12
Interesting Book but Overall Unsatisfying
This book presents a lot of great information, but overall lacks the cohesion to make it a great read. Although the author does an excellent job grabbing the readers attention in the beginning of the book, she slowly departs from the main topic and leaves the reader wondering where she is going. Everything she speaks about is loosely relevant to breasts but in certain parts, she focuses far too much on the sub-topics and only touches on how they relate to breasts. While this provides the reader with a great deal of information on topics such as fire retardant materials and plastics, it takes time and attention away from the main topic.
Kate Reading is an interesting choice for narrator. While she is one of my favorite female readers, having her read this book is like talking about breasts with a favorite aunt, slightly awkward.
I believe that the information on breast cancer alone makes this book worth reading. The books agenda in promoting awareness of breast cancer is admirable and a great plus. Unfortunately the chaotic and loosely organized structure of the book bring it down from a great book to simply mediocre.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By Swallowtail on 06-17-13
Many Interesting Facts but not the Whole Story.
I learned some interesting facts about the plethora of environmental threats to breast health, and I was very pleased that Williams included men's breast cancer in her discussion, but I was surprised that her research did not go beyond the Women's Health Initiative (a flawed study that is 11 years old) when it came to conclusions about the risks/benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). She spoke only about Premarin and glibly dismissed bioidentical hormone replacement in one short sentence, despite the fact that there are some (admittedly, early) data out there.
Kudos to Williams for taking a critical look at mammography and for exploring some alternative breast cancer detection technologies, but why did she completely ignore thermography--a detection method that does not zap us with radiation (like mammography), is not time consumptive (like the ultrasound method that she discusses), and is not hugely expensive (like MRIs)?
Interesting, scary, but--ultimately--disappointing.
Kate Reading read the book like an adventure/romance novel; she's no Malcolm Gladwell, that's for sure. And, really, Camp "LejuRne"?
3 of 3 people found this review helpful