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The Riddle of Gender Paperback – February 14, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (February 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385721978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385721974
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Sympathetic and well-researched. . . . Lively enough to be a good introduction for the educated lay reader and documented enough for the scholar.” –Publishers Weekly

“Amazing! This is the long-awaited fusion of science, criticism, and compassion that scholars of gender–and everybody else–have been waiting for. The Riddle of Gender is meticulous, funny, brilliant, and readable. . . . Not just for those interested in the enigmas of sex and gender, but for those interested in the universal mystery of how we become ourselves.” –Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There: a Life in Two Genders

About the Author

Deborah Rudacille is a science writer at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of The Scalpel and the Butterfly: The Conflict Between Animal Research and Animal Protection. She lives in Baltimore.

More About the Author

Deborah Rudacille is an independent journalist and science writer. She lives in Baltimore Maryland. Her first book, The Scalpel and the Butterfly (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000), was named one of the year's best nonfiction books by the Los Angeles Times. The Riddle of Gender (Pantheon, 2004) was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. Her new book, Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town is about her family and community and the rise and fall of the American working class. More information is available on her website at

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Wolf on January 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a transsexual man, this book is an invaluable resource. I had begun writings for inclusion in a website and went looking for additional books on transsexualism. This book met all my needs. It offers a seemingly thorough analysis of gender identity in regards to activism and science. I got the book from the local public library (yay libraries!!); however, I realized after the first few pages that this book had to become part of my personal library. I have already recommended it to many people and would definitely recommend it to those seeking to broaden their understanding of gender and the cultural oppression transgendered people face. I also highly recommend it to those that are transgendered because it is also a great "power to the people" book. My website will be a call to action to all those that accept and celebrate diversity with the intent of changing the current political and social limitations that have roots in ignorance and oppression. This book buoyed my resolve and validated my existence at a time that I was struggling with feeling oppressed. Thank you Deborah!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mikko on September 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
This books contains exhaustive research on the medical and societal history of transsexualism, all the theories of its possible causes, everything. Having recently decided to face my own gender issues, I found this book immensely informative and felt a million times less alone. The scientific parts can be a tiny bit dry at times, but the information is priceless and the interviews and firsthand stories are wonderful.

Told from the point of view of someone who doesn't have gender identity disorder, the book explains all the aspects of it, even for someone who doesn't know the issue firsthand--this makes it a really excellent resource for people confused by the actions of their transgendered loved ones. I bought copies for both my parents.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very well written and I thought presented very well for a non-trans person. Ms. Rudacille did her homework over a number of years and interviewed hundreds of people to get the details she needed to provide an honest presentation of the subject. The only reason I didn't give the book five stars was because of the title and the material presented in the book. This is a trite thing but in the book she covers mostly transsexual and transsexuals topics as opposed to the broader subject of gender.
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