Mary Kenny

Pregnancy Pauses

The Birth of the Pill: How Four Pioneers Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution

By

Macmillan 388pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

In the Family Way: Illegitimacy Between the Great War and the Swinging Sixties

By

Viking 317pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

When Carl Djerassi, one of the inventors of the contraceptive pill, died earlier this year, the columnist Libby Purves wrote a thoughtful commentary looking at two sides of his creation: yes, it had helped women take control of their fertility; but had it also helped to usher in an era where young girls are under immense pressure to have sex and are subjected to casual porn via ‘sexting’?

Most of us find out, sooner or later, that there’s no such thing as a free lunch and that all benefits have some costs: even one of the most ardent early champions of the Pill, the formidable Margaret Sanger, recognised at the end of her life that the perfect contraceptive she had dreamed of did not deliver all the benefits she had hoped for: it did not reduce the divorce rate (both Sanger and Marie Stopes believed that reliable contraception would ensure happy marriages), and neither did it limit the number of abortions – Sanger, though a bold sexual radical from her girlhood, was opposed to abortion. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • sorry I can’t spell fluttering. I was agitated.,
    • Probably try and get an announcement out later, for all these male writers who think of fluttering inner muscle sheaths...,
    • He felt the muscles far inside her flutteriung around him,
    • Next week sees return, and we've got discounted tickets on offer, right here: ,
    • We're rarely topical - tricky as a monthly magazine - but we've an article this month all about Laurence Binyon, po… ,
    • "We will remember them" - who wrote those words, and why have them become our terms of memorial? ,
    • RT : Wow. We're over the moon with this stunning piece on My Cat Yugoslavia, 'a truly extraordinary novel.'… ,