History, Reviews

Review: McLaren, Impotence

jacket imageLast Sunday, April 22, the New York Post ran a review of Angus McLaren’s new book Impotence: A Cultural History. Praising McLaren’s unprecedented history of male sexual impotence, its causes, and cures, reviewer Nick Gillespie calls Impotence an “erudite, entertaining, and insightful study of what’s now been medicalized as ‘erectile dysfunction.'” Gillespie’s review continues:

“Western culture,” writes McLaren, a history professor at Canada’s University of Victoria, “has simultaneously regarded impotence as life’s greatest tragedy and life’s greatest joke.” In discussing impotence from Roman times (when a hard man was good to find, regardless of the object of his affections) to the Middle Ages (when Church officials would order suspect husbands to perform in front of clergy) to our current era of little blue pills (whose furious rise in sales has already started to decline), McLaren has written a path-breaking history of masculinity.

Updated May 1: We now have an online feature drawn from the book: “Two Millennia of Impotence Cures.” Enjoy!