Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage

Norton. Mar. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9781324006312. $30. MED
Science journalist Gross delivers an enthralling and scrupulously researched poplar-science study of the vagina—its continuous conundrum, the false narratives, and, finally, new awakenings. Slander surrounding the vagina began in the incipient stages of its “discovery” by man, she writes, and it persisted, leaving the organ and the female body in a fog of mysticism and wonder. Gross’s book makes a valiant attempt to bring clarity to the vagina, and it succeeds through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach. Examining the vagina through historical, scientific, and political lenses, Gross crafts a piquant narrative that is exemplary of quality science journalism and is nearly impossible to set down. It’s fit for researchers, with thorough endnotes and stunning anecdotes from real vagina owners and scientists, but it remains readable and accessible for a multitude of lay audiences. Casual readers and academics alike will revel in Gross’s masterful quips that accentuate the frustrating absurdity of the vagina’s lore. A must-read.
VERDICT Libraries catering to readers interested in history, anthropology, anatomy, and women’s and gender studies will want to add this insightful and dynamic book to their collection.
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