The First Man-Made Man and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$4.00
Condition: :
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
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

The First Man-Made Man: The Story of Two Sex Changes, One Love Affair, and a Twentieth-Century Medical Revolution Hardcover – March 6, 2007


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$4.00 $0.01

The 20/20 Diet: Turn Your Weight Loss Vision Into Reality
Dr. Phil and his team have created a plan that you can start following right now and continue working for the rest of your life.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

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: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1st edition (March 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596910151
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596910157
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,053,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1950, Michael Dillon, a dapper, bearded medical student, met Roberta Cowell, a boyish-looking woman, for lunch in a discreet London restaurant. During the lunch, Dillon announced that five years earlier he was a woman named Laura, and Roberta stated she was on her way to full womanhood from being Robert. Eventually, Cowell (a former Royal Air Force captain) would garner fame as a glamorous woman and author of the 1954 bestseller Roberta Cowell's Story, while in 1958 Dillon began a long, rocky journey to become a Tibetan monk. But Kennedy (Black Livingstone) does far more than detail their short-lived, topsy-turvy transgender romance. She gives us an enlightening tour of how mid-century science conceptualized gender, hormones and transsexual surgery, as well as how advances in plastic surgery for men maimed in WWI became the basis for sex change operations. Kennedy's slangy style—she describes presurgery Dillon as living in the "slushy canal between sexes"—also suits the material. Though her effort doesn't surpass other books on the topic—especially Joanne Meyerowitz's How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States—it's an entertaining and informative popular history. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—Born into a wealthy family near the beginning of the 20th century, Laura Dillon attended Oxford University and went on to become a doctor, a published author, and, eventually, a man named Michael. At Oxford, she tried to identify as a homosexual, but that didn't quite fit; it would be years before the words transsexual or transgendered were coined. In 1939, Dillon began to experiment with a new drug, testosterone. Her life changed after meeting Dr. Gillies, a practitioner in the emerging field of plastic surgery, who performed several operations to reconfigure Dillon's anatomy. Upon meeting Roberta Crowell in 1949, Michael believed that he had found his soul mate. Born and raised as a man, Crowell was in the process of transforming into a woman. Following a failed love affair, Dillon traveled to India to study Buddhism. He died a pauper after finally discovering happiness among monks in Tibet. He left a legacy of notebooks, memoirs, and a groundbreaking treatise on the nature of sex and gender. These form the basis of Kennedy's narrative, which leapfrogs back and forth across Dillon's life. Kennedy traces the emotional isolation and triumphs throughout Dillon's struggle to define himself according to his own rules. The author peppers the text with historical details of early-20th-century medicine and evolving notions of gender in Western society. This story is fascinating to modern readers whether or not they have personal questions about gender.—Heidi Dolamore, San Mateo County Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
9
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
1
See all 11 customer reviews
One of the most fascinating books I've ever read.
Dr. Norman S. Keller
Well written book, with enough pictures to give me a sense of who Michael was and how desperately he wanted to live a normal life as a man.
LMax
I was hooked from the first page and couldn't put this gorgeous book down, reading it breathlessly.
Fran Kafka

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rick on October 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Although I am involved in the trans community- both personally and professionally- and I am also a published writer, I generally am not impressed by the "trans biography" genre. Maybe because, although transitioning is a pretty big journey to an individual and in most cases requires a good bit of soul-searching and courage, you really have to do more than change your sex to make yourself a worthy subject for a good biography in my opinion.

Dillon however, is a man who deserves it (a film too, hopefully, but they'd better cast a man to play him, this habit of women playing transitioned men just doesn't do them justice). Not only was Michael the first to transition to male before the word "transexual" existed, before Christine Jorgensen came out, but he lived the life of a legend- outfitting the oxfords womens row team in mens uniforms and rowing them upstream, dodging bombs and putting out fires during the blitz, publishing the first book on the medical ethics of treating transexuality with hormones, becoming an MD and performing an illegal operation on another transexual, working on ships crossing the globe for months at sea, giving up all worldly possessions and fleeing to the cliffs of Tibet to live as the only westerner at the hellish Rizong monastery...trans or not, this guys life is as exciting as Hemingway's, and he deserves his place in the annals of modern western history. I was surprised I'd never heard of him before.

One thing I did not like was that the author sort of gave him this "pathetic" flavor, which is commonly projected onto the lives of trans people. "Poor Michael Dillon, he just wanted to be normal and he never got peace and his penis was weird and he never got laid".
Read more ›
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
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Norman S. Keller on April 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
One of the most fascinating books I've ever read. Kennedy manages to take on a variety of subjects and plot lines than in another writer's hands could come across as, well, callow or, as Dillon feared his entire adult life, exploitive. The heartbreakingly story of Michael Dillon's continuous quest for acceptance and identity, whether it be gender driven or spiritual, is deftly portrayed by this generous and brilliant writer. Even in the most curious aspects of this story, Kennedy remains a historian, never giving judgment, but simply reporting the complicated facts of the story in a beautifully written narrative. Pagan has written several outstanding works of fiction and non-fiction (I especially love The Exes), but this is truly a masterpiece from one of the most original and exciting writers of our time. I can't wait to see what she tackles next.
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
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bookish on April 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The First Man-Made Man is a remarkable, poignant personal story that Pagan Kennedy has skillfully woven in with the medical, scientific and social history of the mid-20th century. Anybody who's ever felt hemmed in by gender roles will be able to relate to Laura Dillon's dissatisfactions with being a girl in pre-WWII England, and Kennedy's compassionate writing carries us along the rest of the bizarre trip.

The story is full of rich, novelistic details: Laura's mother dying giving birth to her; Laura living as a man in a garage putting out fires during the Blitz; Laura/Michael's surgeon figuring out how to construct a penis; Buddhist monks' attitudes toward members of "the third sex." It's impossible not to race through this fascinating book, but it lingers in the mind long after.
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
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fran Kafka on May 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The First Man-Made Man is enthralling, as gripping as the most powerful novel, written with exquisite authority and mastery. Rich in fascinating biographical, sociological and medical research, it's as suspenseful as a Hitchcock thriller. I was hooked from the first page and couldn't put this gorgeous book down, reading it breathlessly. The characters leap from the page, extraordinary and courageous. Pagan Kennedy takes a subject that might, in less capable hands, be sensationalized, and instead turns it into a profoundly human and moving story about yearning and loneliness, and an intense, existential quest for identity. The restless, searching spirit of Michael Dillon, brave and reviled, is captured vividly. He emerges as a vulnerable person of tremendous grace and dignity. From the posh halls of Oxford to the back of a dingy garage, from a ship sailing across the open seas to a remote Tibetan Buddhist monastery, First Man-Made Man catapults the reader into one memorable man's wild, often hostile, world. This poetic adventure is unforgettable.
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
Format: Paperback
They say that truth is stranger that fiction and this book proves it. How in 1940s London two of the first sex reassignments
could find each other and have their lives intertwined is almost beyond believe. And for those interested in the history of transsexualism this book fills in a lot of details you will not find other places, for instance, Laura/Michael Dillon was the first natal born female on whom phalloplasty was attempted. I read this book in one sitting on the plane to S.F. to have surgery with DR. O.
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
By D on December 29, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is amazing. The world first man made penis and the life of the poor man who was blessed with it. it opens history that most transgender people have never dreamed happened. And the truly sad story of the first female to male sexual reassignment surgury. Highly recommended dianefromcarroll@yahoo.com
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

More About the Author

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

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?