Books by Deirdre N. McCloskey

CROSSING by Deirdre N. McCloskey
Released: Nov. 1, 1999

A testimony to her struggles and courage, Crossing invites the reader to enter Deirdre (formerly Donald) McCloskey's mind as she decides to become a woman after a lifetime as a man, husband, and father. A renowned professor of economics at the University of Iowa, Donald McCloskey had to fight tenaciously to realize his inner call to become a woman against such foes as his sister (who had him repeatedly committed against his will for psychiatric evaluations) and his marriage family (who, in the book's most heart-wrenching scenes, renounce their father and former husband). Mixed with this trauma, however, is McCloskey's blossoming sense of self and her discovery of a true community of friends who love her for the woman she is, not the man she was. The cantankerous halls of academe provide the setting for many of the memoir's intriguing political debates: feminists argue that McCloskey is not a women and therefore should not join female faculty groups; conservative economists accept McCloskey's new self with libertarian nonchalance. Oddly enough, though, McCloskey's views of gender seem to become more strongly reified through her experiences. Men are combative; women nurturing. Men barter for gain; women give for comfort. One is left wondering how a woman brave enough to undergo the tribulations of losing a family and to face the possibility of professional contumely could have emerged from a man so self-parodically timid of his femininity that he could not bring himself to describe his car as "dark blue, with cream trim." This Trojan horse of a memoir approaches under the guise of sexual equity yet closes with gender stereotypes still firmly entrenched. Crossing remains a tribute to the power of resisting society in order to realize personal fulfillment, but McCloskey would have done so with a more incisive voice if she did not seem to believe so strongly in the many gender stereotypes she attempts to undermine. (10 halftones) Read full book review >