Testosterone, according to authors Jordan-Young and Karkazis, is a great storyteller. It appears to be about power, sex, aggression, risk taking, and baldness. Since first chemically isolated in 1935, it has carried enormous authority as a signifier of all things masculine. Testosterone, or T, is so entrenched in our understanding of sex and gender that it becomes all the more challenging to distinguish fact from fiction. “T seems to tell an inescapable truth,” they write, and its narrative “sweeps away all kinds of details and smooths over constructions” (5). But its hold on the popular imagination comes at a price; myths and inaccuracies have come to obscure testosterone’s varied functions and effects.

Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography offers a refreshing counter-narrative to the urban legends that have muddied the waters between fact and fiction. The authors themselves come from different disciplines—sociomedical science and cultural anthropology—making this biography inherently interdisciplinary. Both of...

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