DES Reading


Here are books DES Action members recommended.
We also have a more complete DES Bibliography.


DES Voices: From Anger to Action
by Pat Cody
DES Voices is the amazing story of the DES tragedy and how a small group of determined individuals accomplished so much with so little. Even now, DES Action USA is considered a model of an effective grassroots consumer organization because of the passion and energy that generated Congressional hearings, followed later with funding for DES research and educational campaigns. This is a story of which we can be proud.


Our Stolen Future: How We Are Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence and Survival – A Scientific Detective Story (Paperback)
by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, John Peter Meyers
Describes the dangers done to humans and their environment by synthetic estrogens, including DES. It is considered the must-read follow up to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.


Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES
by Nancy Langston
An accurate and compelling account of how the health care industry became enamored with synthetic estrogens and how government regulators failed to protect us from misguided enthusiasm for DES. Langston uses the DES example to show that through the years women’s bodies carry the scars of exposures to environmental toxins.


DES Daughters: Embodied Knowledge and the Transformation of Women’s Health Politics
by Susan Bell
This intriguing and scholarly book describes the health movement that is the DES experience. Using personal stories of DES Daughters, Bell describes their reactions to medical care decisions made as knowledge and attitudes evolved over time. The feminist movement coupled with the involvement of organizations, such as DES Action and the DES Cancer Network, ultimately lead to an expansion of research funding, which positively impacted health care treatment options.


Normal At Any Cost: Tall Girls, Short Boys and the Medical Industry’s Quest to Manipulate Height
by Christine Cosgrove and Susan Cohen
This book tells the horrible story of drug use to adjust the height of adolescent boys and girls who were threatening to be short, or tall, adults. DES was prescribed to prevent girls from growing “too tall.” It got an excellent review in the New York Times and was honored with the prestigious Science in Society Journalism Award from the National Association of Science Writers. Co-author Chris Cosgrove is a former member of the DES Action USA Board of Directors.


The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women: Exploding the Estrogen Myth
by Barbara Seaman
For years Seaman’s been warning anyone who would listen that drugs like Premarin and Prempro not only do not work – they are dangerous. Seaman’s first section, “How Did All This Happen?” is a fascinating study of the history of estrogen promotion, from DES to the pill and HRT, and the growing concern among women about the safety of these drugs. The Second Section, “What Do We Know Now?” describes the aggressive marketing of findings on these drugs.


DES Stories: Faces and Voices of People Exposed to Diethylstilbestrol
by Margaret Lee Braun with photographs by Nancy M. Stuart
DES Stories is the first book of photos and stories of living with DES exposure, along with DES history, research, and resources. In photographic portraits and interviews the DES Daughters, Mothers, and Sons they tell, in their own voice, what it’s like to be DES-exposed. Stories that heal as they reveal.


My Year of Meats
by Ruth Ozeki
My Year of Meats
is a wonderful, strong, disturbing, funny novel. It is at times hilarious and absurd, at times shocking and heart wrenching. Set in the early 1990’s, the novel tells the story of two women, Jane and Akiko, interweaving their lives with Japanese and American culture, filmmaking, the beef industry, and DES. DES Daughters will relate to Jane’s fears and anger about DES, and many will recognize themselves in Jane’s struggle with infertility.

Silent Trauma (fiction based on fact)
by Judith Barrow
This novel is fiction but the facts are well researched and true. It tells the story of four women who discover they have in common that they were all exposed to DES. After years of dealing with problems caused by the drug, they decide to spread awareness so others don’t have to suffer alone as they did. This book will help spread awareness of DES and is a must read, especially for DES Daughters everywhere!


Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth About Miscarriage
By Jon Cohen
A message of clarity and hope for couples who have suffered multiple pregnancy losses. After his wife lost four pregnancies, science writer, Cohen, gathered information on miscarriage, a topic shrouded in myth and mystery. He has provided a revealing an inspiring book for women who have lost at least one pregnancy – and for their partners, family and close friends.


Our Bodies Ourselves
by The Boston Women’s Health Collective
This highly respected publication provides women with information about health, sexuality and reproduction. The 2011 edition includes DES information provided by DES Action USA.


what i thought i knew (autobiography)
by Alice Eve Cohen
This book was listed on Oprah’s 2009 Summer Reading List. It is a familiar story to the DES-exposed, who are no longer surprised by terrible mistakes in health care. But the ones in Cohen’s case were especially horrific. And another life was involved. The book takes readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions through nearly improbable twists and turns of fate – puzzling through the complexities of love, mothering and family relationships.


Rose’s Colors: A Mother’s Journey (autobiography)
by Elizabeth Levine Wandelmaier
Rose’s Colors is the inspiring, true story of how one family came to love and accept their child with multiple disabilities. Rose was born 8 weeks premature to Elizabeth, a DES daughter. Rose’s cerebral palsy and other disabilities dramatically altered life for this family. Rose’s Colors is the return to a challenging but good life. Elizabeth is former Co-Director of the DES Third Generation Network.


Hormone Deception: How Everyday Foods and Products are Disrupting Your Hormones – and How to Protect Yourself and Your Family
By D. Lindsey Berkson
The author is a DES Daughter. Berkson’s book describes how to reduce exposures to damaging hormone disruptors found in American homes.



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