Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural history
By Florence Williams

Winner, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, 2013,
Winner, Audie Award for Nonfiction (from, 2013
Notable Book of 2012, New York Times.

An engaging expose about an incredible, life-giving organ and its imperiled modern fate.

Feted and fetishized, the breast is an evolutionary masterpiece. But in the modern world, the breast is changing. Breasts are getting bigger, arriving earlier and attracting newfangled chemicals. Increasingly, the odds are stacked against us in the struggle with breast cancer – even among men. What makes breasts so mercurial – and so vulnerable?

Praise & Reviews:

“[An] exceptional book…droll and crisp” —Wall Street Journal

“In her exceptional history, science journalist Williams does more to enlighten us on the virtues of, workings of, and perils to women’s breasts than anyone ever has before…And she does it with smarts, sass, and intent….remarkably informative and compelling.” —Booklist (starred)

‘Williams puts hard data and personal history together with humor, creating an evenhanded cautionary tale that will both amuse and appall.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“Akin to Rachel Carson’s 1962 classic Silent Spring…”  —New York Times Book Review

“Be brave, buy this book, and withstand the giggles and sniggers of your friends. For here is a wonderful history, stretching across hundreds of millions of years, of an astonishingly complex part of the human body. Williams weaves together research on nutrition, cancer, psychology, and even structural engineering to create a fascinating portrait of the breast: that singular gland that gave us, as mammals, our very name.”  —Carl Zimmer, author of Parasite Rex and Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea

“Florence Williams’s double-D talents as a reporter and writer lift this book high above the genre and separate it from the ranks of ordinary science writing. Breasts is illuminating, surprising, clever, important. Williams is an author to savor and look forward to.” —Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Packing for Mars

“As a mammalogist and a nursing mother, I thought I knew everything there was to know about breasts and their exquisite communion with the ecological world. I was wrong. But I never laughed so hard while learning so much. Thank you, Florence Williams, for all the delightful–and possibly life-saving–knowledge these pages contain. The true story of breasts, revealed at last!” —Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., author, Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment and Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis

“A wonderful and entertaining tour through the evolution, biology and cultural aspects of the organ that defines us as mammals!” —Susan Love, MD, author of Dr Susan Love’s Breast Book

“I certainly didn’t think I could appreciate breasts more than I already did. This is a truly outstanding book! Written with humor and humanity, it is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the fascinating intersections between personal health, toxic chemicals, western culture and the medical profession. I couldn’t put it down.” —Bruce Lourie, co-author, Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things

“BREASTS is a smart, witty natural history of feminism by way of the body and health. At a time when all things female seem to frighten those in power, Florence Williams offers an intelligent antidote. She is more than a trustworthy writer. She is a reasoned intelligence with a sense of humor.”  —Terry Tempest Williams, author of Refuge and When Women Were Birds

“A smart new history… a surprisingly emotional book…Williams [writes with] indefatigable good humor and conversational candor…” —Slate

“…A much-needed look at why breasts matter more than we realize, even in our boob-obsessed society.” —Salon

“…A fascinating cultural and scientific tour of breasts through time—and what they might face in the future.” —MacLeans

“Smart and surprising…” —Tampa Bay Times

“Williams has written a well-researched and thoughtful book…” —Denver Post

“The book, “Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History,” is a witty and beyond entertaining scientific account following these fatty organs from puberty through menopause, and how they are actually a reflection of the world around us.” —Boulder Daily Camera

“…humorous, but deadly serious…” —

“Alternately hilarious and deeply sobering…” —

“This book is superb…This book covered so much I didn’t know about breasts, even after years of conducting milk research, reading lactation articles, and talking with awesome colleagues… Florence Williams has delivered a Breast ‘Silent Spring’ if you will, one that will be of substantial value and information to scientists and policy-makers as well as our mothers and daughters… and fathers and sons.” —Harvard Professor Katie Hinde