Ourselves Unborn: A History of the Fetus in Modern America and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $3.66
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon

Ourselves Unborn: A History of the Fetus in Modern America Hardcover – December 28, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0195323436 ISBN-10: 0195323432 Edition: 1st
Buy used
Buy new
Used & new from other sellers Delivery options vary per offer
60 used & new from $13.89
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Hardcover, December 28, 2010
"Please retry"
$14.98 $13.89
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Check out The Amazon Book Review, our editors' fresh new blog featuring interviews with authors, book reviews, quirky essays on book trends, and regular columns by our editors. Explore now
$25.67 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 16 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Ourselves Unborn: A History of the Fetus in Modern America + Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution
Price for both: $39.97

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews


"Dubow offers up an important contribution to the field, forcing the reader to contend both with why the fetus is such a fascinating topic for investigation and the deeper social tensions expressed in each conversation about the objects." --Journal of the History of Medicine

"The great strength of this book is the author's wide-angle lens on the human fetus across more than a century of American culture and politics. Sara Dubow offers a thoroughly researched, elegantly written, and comprehensive biography of the unborn. Readers interested in the history of medicine, science, and technology, as well as the history of women's health and reproduction, will find much to savor here." --Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"Dubow's history of the fetus as symbol is a major addition to our history of politics, gender, the body, and reproduction in America. To understand American politics and culture since the nineteenth century requires grasping American's long standing interest in the unborn and the many uses of the concept of fetus. Dubow gives the unknowable "unborn" a history, thus revealing that today's fetus is a construction that grew out of specific political circumstances." --Journal of American History

"[I]lluminating, even gripping...Dubow has provided an indispensable contribution to US political thought." --Women's Review of Books

"A nuanced analysis...Dubow's work makes a significant contribution to our understanding of fetal history...This work will quickly become a standard in the field. Dubow places fetal history within a broad historical context that makes the book valuable to scholars interested in twentieth-century gender, race, politics, and medicine." --American Historical Review

"Dubow's book is a reminder of the moral dilemmas, the politicisation and the sometimes shameful decisions that have been taken over the years.This careful book allows the reader to navigate a course through highly-politicised waters."--The Economist

"Provocative" -- Slate

"Splendidly informative." -- Commonweal

About the Author

Sara Dubow is Assistant Professor of History at Williams College.

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195323432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195323436
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.1 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,004,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By James V. Holton on May 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Ourselves Unborn" is destined to be an important contribution in the debate about much more than abortion. Though not directly about that subject, it casts a lot of light on it.

Some readers may suspect that Dubow's lack of clear-cut statements about abortion's morality reflect a bias. But that would be a disservice to the fine work this author has done in pulling back the curtain on the role of the fetus in modern America.

Dubow asserts that the fetus has been much more than a "pre-human" (my phrase) waiting to be born, but a reflection of the country's evolving attitudes about "ourselves unborn." Dubow takes us from the late 1800s/early 1900s up to the present day and shows that perceptions about the fetus reflect larger societal concerns about the role of women, individual rights, and the future of the nation. The research in this book shows that the fetus has evolved (so to speak) to become a proxy for larger social concerns--from the Progressive Era through the Cold War to the present day conservative milieu. Her most incisive commentary is on showing on the expansion of "rights" for the unborn has been the single largest factor for the increasingly restrictive climate of abortion. She shows that the arguments for those rights were in large measure appropriated by abortion opponents in the 1970s and beyond. The idea that the fetus has its own stand-alone rights has developed a lot of currency and is like to retain it for years to come, Dubow asserts.

Abortion opponents are not likely to be swayed by this book. Abortion supporters are not going to find much ammunition for their cause either. However, "Ourselves Unborn" will shed light on how Americans' attitudes towards what it means to be unborn have evolved.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Ourselves Unborn: A History of the Fetus in Modern America
This item: Ourselves Unborn: A History of the Fetus in Modern America
Price: $25.67
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?