August 26, 1974


Author Affiliations

Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, Conn


edited by L. L. Langley (Benchmark Papers in Human Physiology), 500 pp, with illus, $22, Dowden, Hutchinson & Ross (PO Box 699, Stroudsburg, PA 18360), 1973.

JAMA. 1974;229(9):1230. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230470072041

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As a volume in the series "Benchmark Papers," Contraception should meet two objectives: (1) by expert selection and careful editorial organization and annotation, it should bring together key papers in the field, and (2) provide an overview of homo sapiens struggling for enlightenment as he takes his sometimes very halting steps toward independence... that can only come through knowledge.... [S]uch knowledge has the very practical result that men and women can now, easily and successfully, separate sexual intercourse from reproduction....

In terms of these expectations, the editor of this volume has fallen somewhat short of the mark in the first, and has succeeded reasonably well in the second.

In each of 12 sections, Contraception traces the evolution of contraceptive methods from biblical references on coitus interruptus to the unrealized promise of the prostaglandins, from observations on the destructive operations performed by the Aborigines to the contrasting