Deirdre N. McCloskey is distinguished professor of economics, history, English, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Among her many books are The Bourgeois Virtues, Bourgeois Dignity, Bourgeois Equality, Crossing: A Memoir; The Secret Sins of Economics, and If You're So Smart: The Narrative of Economic Expertise, all published by the University of Chicago Press.
McCloskey, married for 30 years, the father of two, and an economics and history professor, was a secret cross-dresser for 41 years, as "Jane." At 52, he realized that his real identity was as a woman and began transitioning as "Dee" to become "Deirdre." At the heart of this fascinating and poignant story, told in the third person, are the two years (one in Holland) of hormones, multiple surgeries, electrolysis, and a legal name change, all part of the physical and emotional "crossing" from male to female. The big-boned Deirdre describes the joy of "passing," the fear of being "read," and the occasional loving support she has received in contrast to painful estrangement from family, friends, and colleagues. At times revealing, humorous, and provocative, this often overwrought and self-righteous book is marred by minor mistakes, includes gross generalizations about gender differences, and inconsistently employs italicized bold type to represent internal thoughts. For larger public and academic libraries.ÄJames E. Van Buskirk, San Francisco P.L. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Transsexuality has fascinated mainstream readers since 1953, when former U.S. serviceman George Jorgensen went to Sweden and, to banner headlines, returned as Christine. Since then, there has been a string of notable memoirs of gender crossing, including Geoff Brown's sincere I Want What I Want (1966), Jan Morris's meditative Conundrum (1974) and Holly Woodlawn's campy A Low Life in High Heels (1994). McCloskey's own odyssey from Donald to Deirdre is closest to noted journalist Morris's, in that it charts the life change of a highly regarded public figureÄMcCloskey is a world-famous conservative economistÄwho finds fulfillment as a woman after four decades of living as a man. McCloskey forthrightly describes her upper-middle-class youth in Boston, her early and lifelong interest in cross-dressing, her education and eventual success as an academic and her marriage and children. In her late 40s, McCloskey decided that she was not simply a heterosexual cross-dresser but a transsexual and decided to undergo a series of operations to become an anatomical woman. Her memoir effectively details the pain involved: a bitter divorce, insurance companies' refusal to cover surgeries and her sister's repeated attempts to block the process legally. McCloskey's proclivity to jump around in time, her tendency to disrupt the flow of her story with social and political digressions and the constant placing of additional thoughts and ideas in bold text throughout the narrative distract from her storyÄbut her courage nevertheless shines through. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.