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The Hormone Factory: A Novel
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Other Press 2014
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A disturbing story that describes how the alliance between science and capitalism can lead to disaster when the people in charge lose track of their humanityMordechai de Paauw was the Dutch cofounder and CEO of the first pharmaceutical company to invent the contraceptive pill and hormonal treatments. Hitler's invasion of Holland and the threat he poses to the survival of De Paauw's family and the Jewish scientists working for him doesn't affect De Paauw's urge to test his treatments on his female workers and exploit them sexually. Even after the war, which he survives unscathed, De Paauw will continue his mischief until a catastrophe that he himself couldn't have imagined allows him to come to his senses long enough to tell us his story.The Hormone Factory weaves questions of scientific integrity, sibling rivalry, and sex into a narrative that is as troubling as it is thought provoking.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
11/11/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781590516508
ASIN:
B00J1HDCNU
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Saskia Goldschmidt. (2014). The Hormone Factory: A Novel. Other Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Saskia Goldschmidt. 2014. The Hormone Factory: A Novel. Other Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Saskia Goldschmidt, The Hormone Factory: A Novel. Other Press, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Saskia Goldschmidt. The Hormone Factory: A Novel. Other Press, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:46:22
Date Updated:
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      • role: Author
      • fileAs: Goldschmidt, Saskia
      • bioText: Saskia Goldschmidt was born in 1954 in The Netherlands. A drama teacher and children's theater director for 25 years, THE HORMONE FACTORY is her first novel. She lives in Amsterdam.

        Hester Velmans is a novelist, editor, and translator of French and Dutch literary fiction. Born in The Netherlands, she grew up in Switzerland and earned a BA in English and a Master's in Literature from London University (King's). Her translation of Lulu Wang's The Lily Theater was a NY Times Notable Book of the Year, and she was awarded the Vondel Prize for Translation for her rendition of Renate Dorrestein's A Heart of Stone. She lives in Massachusetts. The author lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
      • name: Saskia Goldschmidt
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shortDescription
A disturbing story that describes how the alliance between science and capitalism can lead to disaster when the people in charge lose track of their humanity

Mordechai de Paauw was the Dutch cofounder and CEO of the first pharmaceutical company to invent the contraceptive pill and hormonal treatments. Hitler's invasion of Holland and the threat he poses to the survival of De Paauw's family and the Jewish scientists working for him doesn't affect De Paauw's urge to test his treatments on his female workers and exploit them sexually. Even after the war, which he survives unscathed, De Paauw will continue his mischief until a catastrophe that he himself couldn't have imagined allows him to come to his senses long enough to tell us his story.

The Hormone Factory weaves questions of scientific integrity, sibling rivalry, and sex into a narrative that is as troubling as it is thought provoking.
isOwnedByCollections
True
title
The Hormone Factory
fullDescription
A disturbing story that describes how the alliance between science and capitalism can lead to disaster when the people in charge lose track of their humanity

Mordechai de Paauw was the Dutch cofounder and CEO of the first pharmaceutical company to invent the contraceptive pill and hormonal treatments. Hitler's invasion of Holland and the threat he poses to the survival of De Paauw's family and the Jewish scientists working for him doesn't affect De Paauw's urge to test his treatments on his female workers and exploit them sexually. Even after the war, which he survives unscathed, De Paauw will continue his mischief until a catastrophe that he himself couldn't have imagined allows him to come to his senses long enough to tell us his story.

The Hormone Factory weaves questions of scientific integrity, sibling rivalry, and sex into a narrative that is as troubling as it is thought provoking.
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Hormone Factory A Novel
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The Lancet
      • content: "The Hormone Factory is a dark, fascinating exploration of man's nature set during an era of exciting scientific discovery and geopolitical turmoil."
      • premium: False
      • source: de Volkskrant
      • content: "A story written with color and momentum."
      • premium: False
      • source: Brabants Dagblad
      • content: "A beautiful novel about the proud tyrant De Paauw that is based on imagination, but probably contains a lot more truth than we would like."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        September 15, 2014
        At the end of his life, Dutch Jew and dubiously ethical entrepreneur of the newly emerging field of pharmaceutical hormones, Mordechai De Paauw, is physically incapacitated but mentally fit enough to recount his life’s story, which he claims helps him by “putting off the time of departure.” The tale seems solely for Mordechai’s benefit, however, as he recalls cavorting with one factory girl after the next, refers repeatedly to the former power of his phallic “beast,” and generally drones along in an unconvincing first person. Set in the before, during, and after of World War II, Goldschmidt, who is Dutch and whose own father survived Bergen-Belsen, has a potentially riveting connection with the history. More often than not, though, that history is established through overly expository statements such as, “We were in the throes of the most serious economic recession the world had ever seen, and since those uncertain times a reorganization might become necessary, I wanted to be in a position to make the right decisions when the time came.” As both De Paauw’s own family and Europe as a whole crumble, he holds fast to his determination to invent what will next change the world all over again—the Pill, but the book never becomes as interesting as all its elements would suggest.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        September 15, 2014
        Dutch author Goldschmidt's first novel, an attempt to fictionalize the history of a Dutch pharmaceutical company that survived World War II although it was owned by Jews, offers a less than savory view of business ethics.Twin brothers Mordechai and Aaron De Paauw inherit the family butcher business in the early 1920s when they're only 27. Ambitious Mordechai is soon running things while mild-mannered, morally upright Aaron remains in the background. In 1923, Mordechai teams up with Rafael Levine, a Jewish scientist from Germany, to found Farmacon, which will manufacture insulin from animal pancreas excretions. The partnership flourishes, making scientific discoveries and lots of money, although Mordechai chafes at Levine's efforts to hire as many German-Jewish refugees as possible. Ironically, Mordechai marries Rivka, the daughter of one of the German scientists, who bears him four daughters and a son. Meanwhile, Mordechai, a self-styled ladies' man, enjoys summoning female employees to his office to "seduce" them and wonders at Aaron's lack of sex drive. Without Levine's knowledge, Mordechai arranges for his brother to test out the testosterone Farmacon has been developing. The result drives Aaron temporarily insane with lust, and he goes to prison in 1938 without divulging Mordechai's culpability. As the Nazis arrive, Mordechai escapes Holland with his family although Rivka, having learned about Mordechai's predatory sexual activities, ends their marriage. But Mordechai's primary concern is Farmacon's continuing growth even as the war rages and those he left behind suffer. Returning to the postwar Netherlands, he breaks with Levine because Levine's German (though Jewish) background might hurt business. Rivka, Aaron and Levine have all become fodder for Mordechai's greed. Even as an old man approaching death, he has no epiphany to leaven the reader's perception that he is a narcissistic creep.Although Goldschmidt gives him a distinctive, if repellent voice, Mordechai reports the events of his life in a deadening follow-the-dots style that does nothing to mitigate the novel's simplistic portrayal of nobility versus capitalist evil.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 15, 2014

        Scientific progress and human decency butt heads in this debut novel, which was inspired by the real-life founder of Organon, the first pharmaceutical company to make and market birth control pills and testosterone replacement therapy. A Dutch meat company executive, Mordechai de Paauw built a pharmaceutical empire amid the chaos of Hitler's rise to power, in the process betraying his partner, his twin brother, his wife, and the young women who worked in his factory, whom he exploited sexually. Mordechai's only punishment is a helpless old age and the knowledge that his son will pay for his own crimes. What's most exciting about this novel is its portrait of unregulated entrepreneurial science, with a ruthless CEO who thinks little of testing his company's creations on vulnerable women and even his own brother, with disastrous consequences. Less interesting is Mordechai himself, since the conscience he finally develops is too little too late; it's impossible to care about him. VERDICT Recommended for fans of other indictments of capitalism, from Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie and Frank Norris's The Octopus to Hanif Kureishi's The Buddha of Suburbia.--Evelyn Beck, Piedmont Technical Coll., Greenwood, SC

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
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popularity
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publisher
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