Books of the Decade – Louise Foxcroft

Louise FoxcroftLouise Foxcroft is a historian of medicine and the author of The Making of Addiction: Opiate Use and Abuse in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Ashgate, 2007) and Hot Flushes, Cold Science: A History of the Modern Menopause (Granta, 2009).

Mary Crockett in the Scotsman called Hot Flushes a “gripping study of western attitudes to women of a certain age and older”. Hot Flushes, Cold Science coverShe went on: “The good news, sisters – and brothers, if you’re still reading – is that Foxcroft’s study, complete with extensive endnotes and an entertainingly compiled index, arrives at a constructive conclusion. The thrust of her message is: it’s time we changed our way of thinking on ageing. For starters, it’s a natural process, not a disease. Second, women aren’t in it alone, not everything being rosy in the male mid-life department.”

Louise appeared in programme 25, “Menopause and Medicine”, on Podularity to talk about the book. You’ll find that podcast here.

Philip Roth, The Dying Animal (Jonathan Cape, 2001)

Roth Dying AnimalHad I read this book when I was thirty I would have felt threatened and angered by the “emancipated manhood” of David Kepesh.

Inevitably, he gets caught out, but that’s not the point. The point is that reading it in my fifties has made me radically rethink my ideas about male autonomy.

Vic Gatrell, City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London (Atlantic, 2006)

Gatrell City of LaughterGatrell is a rare sort of historian. This book roars, giggles, hums, farts, and penetrates polite society past and present.

Fabulously illustrated with ribald satirical prints, this is the best sort of history there is. It is clever, colourful, and frothing with humanity.

Anne Enright,  The Gathering (Vintage, 2008)

Enright GatheringUncomfortably comforting, bleak yet homely, The Gathering is a raw view of family life.

There are some things in families, between people, that have their own momentum and resistance, and Enright describes the love and the grief with a simple piercing beauty.

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