A star debater at school, Norman Haire had always wanted to be an actor. Forced to study medicine, he followed his other passion: saving the world from sexual misery. When he arrived in London in 1919 he was a poor Jewish outsider from Australia. By 1930 he had a flourishing gynaecology practice in Harley Street, a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce and a country house. His parties were attended by the medical, intellectual and cultural elite.
As a prominent sexologist and a campaigner for birth control, Haire took a leading role in the world's first international conference on birth control in 1922 and organised, with Dora Russell, the World League for Sexual Reform's highly successful 1929 Congress in London. He lectured in America, Germany, France and Spain, and wrote and edited many accessible books on sex education.
In 1940 Haire returned to Australia where he attracted a loyal following, but was also hounded by the security service. The ABC Board was censured in parliament for choosing him as the key speaker in a population debate, and his weekly advice column in the magazine Woman was strongly opposed by the Catholic Church. Peter Coleman called Haire 'one of Australia's most famous freethinkers and sex reformers'. This biography pays a tribute to this tenacious, humane, witty, innovative and brave man's contribution to birth control, sexology and human rights history.
Diana Wyndham is a freelance historian.
Foreword by The Hon. Michael Kirby AC, CMG
2. Early years
3. Zions the scapegoat
4. Haire the phoenix
5. Making his mark
6. Moving up in the world
7. Organising the 1929 congress
8. The darkening years
9. Escalating troubles
10. Mounting gloom on most fronts
11. Haire’s homecoming
12. Dr Wykeham Terriss writes for Woman
13. The ABC population debate
14. Final years
'Wyndham paints a vivid picture of the politics seething within the birth control arena in the UK in the inter-war period.'
Jennie Stuart Australian Humanist
'This fine biography of one of the western world's most tenacious reformers in the field of birth control and sexual reform is replete with arcane, yet useful, information. For example, Wyndham reminds us that George Bernard Shaw had the unique distinction of winning both a Nobel Prize and an Oscar.'
Ross Fitzgerald Sydney Institute Quarterly
'Wyndham does a fine job recovering the life and times of Haire, covering aspects of the private as well as the public man.'
Stephen Garton Journal of the History of Sexuality
'Wyndham has created a fascinating account of a remarkable Australian who made his mark overseas in medicine. Norman Haire, born Norman Zions in Sydney in 1892, was an internationally known gynaecologist and sexologist ... '
Clive Moore Health and History
'[Wyndham] adds a wealth of detailed research to the narrative about this period in
the history of sexology and the status of those who took their place in
the forefront of a movement that aimed to counter repression and
prudery with rational and humanistic approach to sex and sexuality.'
Gina Perry Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Size: 210 × 148 × 27 mm
1 b&w table, 42 b&w illustrations, and 6 colour illustrations
Publication: 01 Dec 2012