Friedman, David M. 1949-
Friedman, David M. 1949-
Born February 6, 1949.
Home—New York, NY.
Former reporter for New York Newsday, New York, NY, and Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia, PA.
A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis, Free Press (New York, NY), 2001.
The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever, Ecco (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including Esquire, GQ, and Rolling Stone.
David M. Friedman was inspired to write his first book, A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis, because in researching an article about the "erection" industry for Esquire, he decided to be injected with a drug that purported to provide an instant erection. The drug worked, and by the time Friedman's erection subsided, he had decided to write the book. His research took him to the Mutter Museum, a medical museum in Philadelphia, where he delved into histories that revealed the positive and negative experiences of the penis, the truth about penis size and desirability, and the need for and cultural and religious attitudes toward circumcision. Friedman notes that women have been blamed for arousing the male penis and that, in medieval Munich, a woman who was identified as being a witch was mutilated for having known the "devil's penis."
Subjects covered in various chapters include feminist criticism, the penis in art, and the erection industry, including the prescription drug Viagra, since the times of ancient Egypt. Sigmund Freud elevated the penis in popular culture with such phrases as "penis envy" and "castration anxiety." Friedman notes that Roman soldiers were often promoted because of large penis size, which was equated with strength. In the nineteenth century, however, John Kellogg developed corn flakes, a bland food that he felt would reduce lust and masturbation.
Salon.com reviewer David Bowman wrote: "Probably the most controversial part of A Mind of Its Own documents the myth or pathological truth of how well hung African-Americans are. The book takes different stands, including the politically correct all dicks are created equal. Privately, however, Friedman says, ‘Urologists tell me off the record that their clinical experience suggests that black penises are generally larger. I'm told that, back in the 1980s, when the United Nations became interested in giving condoms away to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS that they had condoms manufactured in three sizes: black (biggest), white (medium), Asian (smallest).’" Marcelle D'Argy Smith reviewed A Mind of Its Own in the New Statesman, commenting: "Heaven knows the penis has had its up moments, but it's lived through tortured times. The cultural history of the penis is the history of mankind."
The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever is a study of a collaboration between the famous aviator and the Nobel Prize-winning French scientist, who pioneered a procedure for sewing and connecting blood vessels. Their goal was to make immortal one human who would reign over what they saw as the inferior general population. They, of course, did not reach their goal, but in pursuing it they paved the way for modern-day organ transplants. Lindbergh sought Carrel's help when Lindbergh's sister-in-law suffered from a heart problem that could not be diagnosed. Lindbergh's vision was an artificial heart. While they did not achieve this result, they did develop a pump that could keep organs alive outside the body, a feat that made the cover of Time in 1938. In reviewing the book for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Matthew Price wrote: "The book's lab accounts are riveting, but not for the faint of heart—Carrel performed gruesome experiments on live animals. Carrel also believed in extrasensory perception and clairvoyance, and Lindbergh, on his historic 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic, said he communed with ‘the inhabitants of a universe closed to mortal men.’ The ‘science’ of immortality, he believed, would give him passage to this otherworldly realm."
Both men believed in eugenics, and in his book Man, the Unknown, Carrel argued that all men are not equal before the law. He proposed that a "high council of experts" be appointed to create perfection in mankind and eliminate the criminally insane and others who were "undesirable." Both men were racists who sought immortality for the white race they considered superior. They disagreed on one important issue, however. While Lindbergh favored the brutality of Hitler and Nazi Germany, seeing it as a way to control inferior Europeans, the French-born Carrel did not. Reviewing the volume for BookPage, Chris Scott wrote that Friedman's explanation of what then happened to these two men "is the emotional heart of The Immortalists, in which he shows readers what can happen to men confronted by the logical extreme of their deeply held beliefs."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 15, 2001, Bonnie Johnston, review of A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis, p. 364; July 1, 2007, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever, p. 17.
Books in Canada, May, 2002, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. 9.
Boston Globe, September 2, 2007, Charles J. Shields, review of The Immortalists.
British Medical Journal, December 14, 2002, Birte Twisselmann, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. 1427.
Choice, June, 2002, J.S. Alter, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. 1806.
Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, February 6, 2008, David S. Hall, review of A Mind of Its Own.
Esquire, December, 2001, Bryan Mealer, "This Book Is Going to Be Huge," interview with David M. Friedman, p. 34.
Fortune, October 29, 2007, Daniel Okrent, review of The Immortalists, p. 78.
Journal of the History of Sexuality, April, 2003, Jeffrey M. Dickeman, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. 323.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2001, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. 1262; June 15, 2007, review of The Immortalists.
Library Journal, October 1, 2001, Martha Cornog, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. 131; August 1, 2007, Scott Vieira, review of The Immortalists, p. 114.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 2, 2007, Matthew Price, review of The Immortalists,
New Scientist, September 22, 2007, review of The Immortalists, p. 52.
New Statesman, December 9, 2002, Marcelle D'Argy Smith, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. 50.
New York, December 10, 2001, Daniel Mendelsohn, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. 85.
New York Times Book Review, January 13, 2002, Mike Albo, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. 20; February 9, 2003, Scott Veale, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. 28; October 7, 2007, Kyla Dunn, review of The Immortalists, p. 36.
Publishers Weekly, May 21, 2007, review of The Immortalists, p. 45.
Seattle Times, December 27, 2001, Chris Solomon, review of A Mind of Its Own.
Times Literary Supplement, September 17, 2004, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. 4.
Washington Post, November 4, 2001, review of A Mind of Its Own, p. T10.
BookPage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (February 6, 2008), Chris Scott, review of The Immortalists.
Salon.com,http://www.salon.com/ (December 12, 2001, David Bowman, review of A Mind of Its Own.