[Riddle's] findings carry important implications for the history of theology, casuistry, pastoral care, social history, the history of sexuality, and the history of popular culture, as well as the history of botany, pharmacy, medicine, and biochemistry...These findings should earn Riddle the gratitude of the numerous historians for whom the reproductive strategies of past generations are an important issue. (James A. Brundage American Historical Review
Gives us a valuable glimpse of the long reach of history on fertility and provides food for thought on possible options that science should research for both safety and efficacy. (Portia Meares Herb Quarterly
Riddle's study is a true turning point in the history of contraception and abortion, which may have large implications for the history of the medical and psychic experience of women in antiquity, folk medicine, and premodern demography. (W. V. Harris New York Review of Books
Riddle shows us that ancient contraceptive medical practices were safe, effective and commonly used. Sociological studies on their use remain to be carried out. But it is possible that, between the Middle Ages and the rise of modern contraception, the well-off and city dwellers had little access to effective contraception, thanks to the growth of conventional medicine and the soaring social power of the physician. This is just one of the many intriguing lines of investigation to arise from this book, which shines a different light on what we are generally taught about the 'progress' of the modern world. (Michel Raymond Nature
About the Author
John M. Riddle is Chair of the History Department and Alumni Distinguished Professor, North Carolina State University.