History of Science & Knowledge

The Slow Moon Climbs: The Science, History, and Meaning of Menopause

A surprising look at the role of menopause in human history—and why we should change the ways we think about it


Published (US):
Mar 2, 2021
Published (UK):
Mar 23, 2021
5.25 x 8 in.
5 b/w illus.
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Are the ways we look at menopause all wrong? Susan Mattern says yes and, in The Slow Moon Climbs, reveals just how wrong we have been. From the rainforests of Paraguay to the streets of Tokyo, Mattern draws on historical, scientific, and cultural research to show how perceptions of menopause developed from prehistory to today. Introducing new ways of understanding life beyond fertility, Mattern examines the fascinating “Grandmother Hypothesis,” looks at agricultural communities where households relied on postreproductive women for the family’s survival, and explores the emergence of menopause as a medical condition in the Western world. The Slow Moon Climbs casts menopause in the positive light it deserves—as an essential juncture and a key factor in human flourishing.

Book Club Discussion Questions

In Dialogue with Susan Mattern and Richard Bribiescas: Reframing how we think about aging

Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of the PROSE Award in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Association of American Publishers