From Publishers Weekly
Bond had always mistrusted short men," Ian Fleming wrote; "Napoleon had been short, and Hitler. It was short men who created all the trouble in the world." That may sound extreme, but science reporter Hall (Merchants of Immorality: Chasing the Dream of Human Life Extension)
marshals a broad, deep range of information in this fascinating study to show us how much size matters in the way society conceptualizes masculinity and how badly we treat those who do not "measure up." Hall includes data on developmental fetal growth; the anthropological studies of Franz Boas and G. Stanley Hall; and the science of the human growth hormone. His research turns up some gems—such as that contemporary ideals of the manly body, as embodied by toys such as G.I. Joe, are far bulkier then those promoted by the famous Charles Atlas bodybuilding ads in 1950s comics. Carefully examining sociological studies on bullying, and the politically conservative backlash against those studies, Hall explains how a childhood "culture of cruelty" is reflected in the broader national political culture. His interpretations of complicated science are readily accessible, and his journalistic style will suit both popular and academic readers. (Nov.)
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About the Author
STEPHEN S. HALL is the author of Merchants of Immortality and three other acclaimed works of science reportage. He writes frequently for the New York Times Magazine, Discover, and other magazines. He is 5’53⁄4” and lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his 5’9” wife and their two average-size children.