Manhood: The Rise and Fall of the Penis by Mels van Driel - review by Sara Wheeler

Sara Wheeler

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Manhood: The Rise and Fall of the Penis


Reaktion Books 288pp £21.95

This was a stiff assignment: three hundred pages of information, lore, reflection and clinical data written up by a Dutch urologist in a quirky style that veers between flaccid exposition and penetrating analysis. Manhood is not a volume for the faint-hearted.

After a quarter of a century in wards and consulting rooms, the author explains, ‘tens of thousands of penises and testicles have been through my hands’. But Mels van Driel tempers his naturally clinical approach with illustrations drawn from a range of literary sources embracing Siberian fairy tales,

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