“The Slumber Dairies,” Prevention Magazine, Oct. 2008

“Why We Can’t Sleep, It’s Not Just in our Heads, But in our Hormones,” Ms Magazine, April/May, 2008

“Snooze Alarm: What the deaths of celebrities can teach us about the dangers of insomnia,” Opinion, Los Angeles Times, March 30, 2008. Read more…

“A Bedtime Story,” Opinion, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, March 8, 2008. Read more…

“Bring the Agony of Insomnia to Light,” Feb. 15, Providence Journal, about Heath Ledger. Read more…

“An Argument for Anecdote,” SleepLess Times (the newsletter of the American Insomnia Association), winter 2006. Read more…

“Catching Zzzzs Women lie awake and wonder: Why is most sleep research conducted on men?” Women’s Review of Books, July 2003. Read more…


1) The Woman Who Knew Too Much: Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation
University of Michigan Press
Introduction by Helen Caldicott

‘Malignant Maneuvers’, Letter, New York Review of Books
Volume 55, Number 11 · June 26, 2008
A response to Richard Horton’s review of Devra Lee Davis, Cancer: Malignant Maneuvers (March 6, 2008)

This biography illuminates the life and achievements of the remarkable woman scientist who revolutionized the concept of radiation risk.

In the 1950s Alice Stewart began research that led to her discovery that fetal X rays double a child’s risk of developing cancer. Two decades later—when she was in her seventies—she again astounded the scientific world with a study showing that the U.S. nuclear weapons industry is about twenty times more dangerous than safety regulations permit. This finding put her at the center of the international controversy over radiation risk. In 1990, the New York Times called Stewart “perhaps the Energy Department’s most influential and feared scientific critic.”

The Woman Who Knew Too Much traces Stewart’s life and career from her early childhood in Sheffield to her medical education at Cambridge to her research positions at Oxford University and the University of Birmingham.

Publishers Weekly
In 1956, British physician Alice Stewart discovered that exposing a fetus to a single diagnostic X-ray doubles the risk of an early death from cancer. As this spirited biography demonstrates, Stewart’s subsequent dedication to investigating the effects of radiation turned her into a kind of guru to the antinuclear movement. In 1974-1977, her study of U.S. nuclear workers at the Hanford weapons complex in Washington State found that workers had a greater risk of developing cancer if exposed to radiation well below one-tenth of the “safe” level stipulated by international standards. According to Greene, the Atomic Energy Commission attempted to seize Stewart’s data, and her funding was cut off. Yet her controversial findings, published in 1977, have momentous implications because, as Stewart explains, “If we are correct, occupational safety standards will have to be changed and it will open the floodgates to claims from workers, veterans and downwinders.” Greene, a professor at Scripps College, also sets forth Stewart’s provocative, still untested theory that sudden infant death syndrome masks myeloid leukemia. Stewart’s varied personal life included conducting an affair with literary critic/poet William Empson, raising two children as a single parent and enduring her son’s suicide. Greene calls this a “collaborative memoir,” because she lets Stewart, 93, speak for herself whenever possible. Yet Greene also uses this blunt, feisty woman’s career to mount a compelling critique of the nuclear industry and the medical establishment. 31 b&w photos. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Blurbs on the hardcover bookjacket:
“A vivid portrait of Alice Stewart, a much underestimated scientist who has been an indomitable challenger of the establishment and a thorn in the flesh of the nuclear industry.”—Joseph Rotblat, physicist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, 1955

“The Atomic Age was born in secrecy, and for two decades after Hiroshima, the high priests of the cult of the atom concealed vital information about the risks to human health posed by radiation. Dr. Alice Stewart, an audacious, insightful medical researchers, was one of the first experts to alert the world to the dangers of low-level radiation. This story of her life and work stands as a monument to the grit that allowed her to challenge tenets of mainstream scientific opinion.”—Stewart Udall, former Secretary of the Interior and author of The Myths of August: A Personal Exploration of Our Tragic Cold War Affair with the Atom

“Alice Stewart is a hero of our time. In The Woman Who Knew Too Much, Gayle Greene provides a scientifically accurate yet extremely readable account of Dr. Stewart’s research on the physical effects of low-level radiation. We come away with an awareness of how Stewart’s high scientific standards led to a clear understanding of dangers of radiation, of the implications for those exposed to it, and of the vested interests who tried to block Dr. Stewart’s research and her findings.”—Victor W. Sidel, M.D., former president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Internal Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War


“. . . a compelling portrait of the twentieth century, and an inspiring tale of what can be achieved through brains and determination.”_–Tom Schouweiler, Ruminator Review, Spring 2002
“The book is valuable for highlighting the ways in which radiation risks have been defined politically and socially, and how the bearers of bad tidings have been marginalized by powerful vested interests, their research frustrated and their findings discredited.”_–David Cantor, National Institutes of Health, Medical History, October 2001

“For those who are intrigued by others’ life experience, this book has all the necessary ingredients: loyalty; love and a life that has been lived to the full [sic]. For those who relish the triumph of tenacity over adversity, this story illuminates the fight of those who believe that science may do harm as well as good and those who think that too rigid an application of regulation may stifle research which is contrary to received wisdom.”_–Carol Barton, Medicine, Conflict and Survival, April-June 2001
“. . . an amazing book about an amazing person. . . . What a read! What a human being! A real hero of our time.”_–Alan Dalton , Hazards Magazine, January/March 2001

“. . . an excellent account of [Alice Stewart’s] life and work and how the nuclear industrial complex has sought to marginalize her.”_–Don Hancock, Voices from the Earth, Winter 2000

“A vivid portrait of Alice Stewart, a much underestimated scientist who has been an indomitable challenger of the establishment and a thorn in the flesh of the nuclear industry.”_–Joseph Roblat, physicist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, 1955

“Gayle Greene’s Woman Who Knew Too Much seeks to trace Stewart’s unconventional approach in investigating the effects of man-made radiation. It provides some shrewd insights into her personality and methodology.”_–New York Times Book Review

“This story of Dr. Alice Stewart, an audacious, insightful medical researcher, stands as a monument to the grit that allowed her to challenge tenets of mainstream scientific opinion.”_–Stewart Udall, former Secretary of the Interior and author of The Myths of August: A Personal Exploration of Our Tragic Cold War Affair with the Atom

“A spirited biography [of a] blunt, feisty woman’s career.”_–Publishers Weekly

“. . . a fascinating mixture of biography and oral history. . .. Stewart’s scientific passion, her feistiness, her political naivete and her wit shine in each chapter.”_–Women’s Review of Books

“. . . an estimable book about the life of Alice Stewart and her role in the long, painful effort to understand an control the health effects of radiation.”_–Tara O’Toole, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July-August 2000
“. . . a sympathetic perspective about [Alice Stewart’s] long career, and about her role in the ongoing controversies about the carcinogenic risks of exposure to low-level ionising radiation.”_–James E. Till, University of Toronto, Lancet, July 15, 2000

“Part biography and part a sort of personal memoir, the book presents an informative and sympathetic portrait of the life of a rather unconventional and determined physician-scientist, whose world was shaped by the prejudices against women of an earlier day. . . . The real strength of this book, however, lies not in its discussion or understanding of science, but rather in its presentation of the trials and slights and obstructions and impediments placed in the path of a woman who dared to enter the male-dominated world of medical science in 10th-century Britain and the United States. It is thus a very good personal and social history, and certainly of some value from that standpoint.”_–Ronald L. Kathren, Nuclear News, September 2000
“. . . provides some shrewd insights into [Alice Stewart’s] personality and methodology.”_–Matthew L. Wald, New York Times Book Review, March 5, 2000

“Greene calls her riveting portrait a ‘collaborative memoir,’ and, indeed, Stewart’s voice is heard almost as frequently as her biographer’s as she recounts her unusual life with verve and humor. . . . Greene enthusiastically chronicles Stewart’s fascinating family history . . . and demanding private life, and perspicaciously examines the ‘visions and doggedness’ that characterized Stewart’s pioneering and invaluable work. . . . Stewart’s story is one of perseverance, ingenuity, compassion, independence, and integrity, a noble tale in the checkered history of science.”_–Booklist, December 1, 1999

Amazon reader reviews:

Courage and Integrity in Science: A Precious Rarety, February 20, 2000
By Rudi H. Nussbaum “fellow survivor” (Portland, OR)

The Woman Who Knew Too Much: Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation
Courage and Integrity in Science: A Precious Rarety
The Woman Who Knew Too Much: Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation by Gayle Greene. Dr. Stewart is a British physician and epidemiologist (born in 1906 into a large family of physicians) who revolutionized the concept of radiation risk. In the 1950s, while surveying childhood mortalities in the British Isles, she finds that then quite common X-ray examinations during pregnancy doubled the risk for childhood cancer. Fueled by the wrath of radiologists, her work has been viciously derided among the medical establishment for more than two decades. In the 1970s, she finds that some workers at nuclear weapons production sites, such as Hanford, WA or Oakridge, TN are dying of radiation induced cancers, showing that presumed “safe” levels of occupational exposures put these workers at a twenty times higher risk than officially admitted. With that finding she places herself on the “enemy list” of an immensely powerful nuclear weapons establishment, including its scientific elite, and at the center of an international controversy over radiation risks. Stewart’s fascinating story, a collaborative memoir told by herself and Greene with verve and humor, is one of a woman scientist’s ingenuity, independence, perseverance, compassion, and integrity, a fascinating tale in the checkered history of a mostly male-dominated science. Rudi H. Nussbaum, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Physics and Environmental Science.

Have your children, your daughters must, read this book., January 26, 2000
By H. W. Cummins (Washington, DC)

This review is from: The Woman Who Knew Too Much: Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation (Hardcover)
As Research Director of the Hanford Veterans Cancer Mortality Study I have worked closely with Dr. Alice Stewart. I have learned from her, laughed with her and admired her as the most extraordinary human being I have ever known. But, I never knew her well enough. You must read this book! It will give you a new understanding of the meaning of courage and integrity. More importantly – have your children, especially your daughters, read this book. Thank goodness Gayle Greene has written this eminently readable biography of Alice. It allows us to understand where her drive comes from and how Dr. Stewart can suffer the slings and arrows of the federal scientific pygmies who attack her work. The heart of the story, and a key to Dr. Stewart’s personality, can be found in the juxtaposition of the the ending words of Chapter 13 where Professor Greene says “Alice is called in by…radiation victims, her investigations turn up cancer in excess … the studies are handed over to official bodies…the official studies invoke the A-bomb data to discredit her finds….Time passes.” `It’s a long, slow business,’ she (Dr. Stewart) says.” Compare this with one of Dr. Stewart’s favorite quotations, “truth is the daughter of time.” She has waited, we will wait; but Dr. Helen Caldicott is right “her work may (I say `will’) receive the recognition and thanks of the future.” When one finishes reading this marvelous book one cannot help but think of George Sand saying “humanity is outraged in me and with me. We must not dissimulate nor try to forget this indignation; which is one of the most passionate forms of love.” Thank the Good Lord for this stunning creature called Alice Stewart. And thank Gayle Greene for helping us to know her just a bit better.

“Truth is the daughter of time”, September 14, 2005
By carolyn moody
“Truth is the daughter of time”, a saying used by Alice Stewart, cannot come soon enough in this era.
Gayle Greene should be held in the highest esteem for the eloquent presentation of Alice Stewart’s quest for truth. Her writing is crisp and unencumbered, and it hold the reader’s interest into the life of this feisty, humorous, brilliant woman. Dr. Stewart, just by being of the female gender, found it hard to be taken seriously, and it was not until late in her life that she was honored for a life of accomplishment and dedication. A simple woman born to parents who were both doctors; doctors who put their patients ahead of money and power.
It was a tenet to be carried on by their daughter, Alice Stewart, who never gave up trying to educate the public about radiation proliferation. Thanks to her, thousands of babies were saved from the horrors of exposure to radiation when the medical profession listened to what she had to say about xraying during the first trimester.

Later Alice was funded to examine the effects of radiation on works who handled nuclear materials and weaponry. When her message was not what the AEC and others wanted to hear or receive, they tried to confiscate her work and cut her funding. Indeed, the funding was cut off, but she managed to secure her work and continue its research. Gayle Greene’s writing abilities are able to give you the sense of Dr. Stewart’s anguish and frustration.

The Woman Who Knew Too Much is a classic example of the control of information which the public direly needs, but which is buried and censored. This book, though written several years ago, is as pertinent as if it were published yesterday, and it should be read by all who are interested in the welfare of humanity. The inclusion in a science or social studies curriculum of the developing minds of students would be a well-deserved legacy for this wonderful woman who died in 2002 at the age of 96.

Fascinating insight into the history of radiation & medicine, February 13, 2000
By A Customer
The Woman Who Knew Too Much: Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation (Hardcover)
The book spans the lifetimes of Dr. Stewart and her parents. It offers a fascinating description of medicine in Britain in the late 19th century, the entry of women into the medical field, and the institutional resistance in the second half of the 20th century to the fact that low levels of radiation are dangerous. Given the recent announcements by the US Government concerning health risks in the nuclear arms industry, this is a timely and fascinating book. Well written and researched.

Further Writings about Alice Stewart:

“Daughter of Time: Low-Level Radiation, High-Level Lies,” In These Times, April 29, 1996

“Alice Stewart and Sir Richard Doll,” forthcoming in a collection ed. Sam Epstein, “Toxic Links to Industry”


“Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation,” KPFK Radio Interview, May 1996

Readings at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Berkeley, Feb. 2001;
Midnight Special Bookstore, Santa Monica, Nov. 2001;
Radio Interviews, NPR, WBAC, KWMR, Spring 2000-2001
KPFA, Aug. 2003

Alice Stewart,” Pioneer Radiation Epidemiologist, Portland State University, June 2000

Claremont Colleges:
Claremont Library Series, October 2000
Women’s Studies Colloquium, March 2001
“Who Funds Science? The A-Bomb Studies as Wishful Thinking,” Scripps Humanities Institute Feb. 2003
“Alice Stewart,” Humanities Institute, Oct. 203
“Alice Stewart: the Scientist, the Activist, the Woman,” Alumnae Weekend, May 2003

Me, videotaped, reading from the book:
(I hate that reading; I was exhausted!)

2) Doris Lessing: The Poetics of Change
Univeristy of Michigan Press


Doris Lessing has been a chronicler of our age for nearly half a century, and a study of her writing career does not yield easy generalizations. Difficult though she is to categorize, she is always concerned with change, with a search for “something new” against “the nightmare repetition” of history. The feminist quest she articulated in The Children of Violence and The Golden Notebook entered the culture with the force of a new myth: these books changed lives. The Golden Notebook–together with such works as The Second Sex and The Feminine Mystique–raised the consciousness of a generation of women readers and played a major part in making the second wave of feminism. It is the power of Lessing’s novels to change people’s lives, the effect she had raising the consciousness of a generation of women and the effect she continues to have on young readers, that is the subject of this book.

Doris Lessing is a readable yet theoretically informed study of this vastly complex and important writer that attempts to account for her wide and lasting appeal and that hopes to reach many of the readers Lessing herself reaches.

Gayle Greene employs an eclectic range of approaches (psychoanalytic, Marxist, biographical, historical, intertextual, formalist, feminist) to shed new light on Lessing’s remarkable achievement. She sees Lessing as a feminist writer, not in offering strong female role models who climb top the top of existing social structures, but in envisioning, and indeed helping to bring about, a transformation of those structures. Lessing critiques Western values of individualism, competition, and materialism in terms similar to those developed by feminism; and, in getting us to view our culture from without, in teaching us to read cultural constructs as systems, her novels perform the deconstructing and demystifying work of feminism.

“This highly recommended book, which is certain to have a major impact on Lessing studies, should be owned by all academic libraries.”_–Choice

This book reminded me of the great pleasure Doris Lessing’s work has given me over a period of nearly forty years. In the winter of 1960, when I was the mother of two small children, I ran across A Proper Marriage. Helpless with the laughter of surprised recognition, I read it in one sitting. Martha’s exploratory sexual adventures, her obtuseness in failing to recognize that she was pregnant, her incomprenhension in the face of labor and delivery–the like of …
CRITIQUE: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, September, 1998 review by Jean Pickering

3) Changing the Story: Feminist Fiction and the Tradition

University of Indiana Press

Changing the Story: Feminist Fiction and the Tradition on Amazon


A Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 1992.

The feminist fiction movement of the 1960s—1980s was and is as significant a movement as Modernism. Gayle Greene focuses on the works of Doris Lessing, Margaret Drabble, Margaret Atwood, and Margaret Laurence to trace the roots of this feminist literary explosion. She also speculates on the future of feminist fiction in the current regressive period of “post feminism.”

” . . . Changing the Story . . . gives an excellent and well-informed account of the differences between the American, Canadian, British, and French attitudes towards feminism and feminist fiction and literary theory. . . . a very readable book . . . which reminds us that literature can change us, and that through it we can change ourselves.” —Margaret Drabble

“A distinctive contribution—clear, elegant, precise, and well-read—to the feminist discussion of narrative, of Anglo/Canadian/white North American novelists, and to contemporary fiction. Greene tracks how feminist novelists draw upon, and negotiate with traditional narrative patterns, and how their critical approach implicates, and provokes, social change. The book brings us to an intelligent post-humanism which does not scant the social meanings of metafictional critique. And, in addition, this book remembers hope.” —Rachel Blau DuPlessis

“Changing the Story is an invaluable guide to the feminist classics of the last three decades. This is cultural criticism at its best: engaged, re-visionary, and politically astute.” —Nancy K. Miller

“Greene tells a very good tale about how feminist fiction emerged, developed, made changes in the world, and now threatens to wane.” —The Women’s Review of Books

“Her probing analysis . . . should captivate general readers as well as academics.” —WLW Journal

“Changing the Story is an important work of feminist criticism certain to spark controversy within the feminist community.” —American Literature

4) Changing Subjects: The Making of Feminist Criticism, co-ed. with Coppelia Kahn
Changing Subjects: The Making of Feminist Criticism on Amazon


From the book jacket: “Over the last thirty years, feminist literary criticism has changed the study of literature. These twenty autobiographical essays by eminent feminist literary critics explore the process by which women scholars became feminist scholars, articulating the connections between the personal and political in their lives and work. they describe the experiences that radicalized women within academia and wihtout, as students, professors, scholars, political activists, women. From these diverse histories a collective history emerges of the development of feminism as an intellectual and social movement, as a heuristic tool, as the definition of knowledge and power….This book presents a history of the field thorugh the eyes of those who have created it. Offering a spectrum of experiences and critical positions that engage with current debates in feminism, it will be valuable to teachers and students of feminist theory, women’s studies, and the history of the women’s movement. It will interest feminist writers and scholars in all disciplines and anyone who cares about feminism and its future.”

My introductory essay to this volume, which attempted to define the relation of feminist scholarship to literary theory, was anthologized in several collections.

5) Making a Difference: Feminist Literary Criticism, co-ed. with Coppelia Kahn

Making a Difference: Feminist Literary Criticism on Amazon


“This challenging collection of essays by prominent feminist literary critics offers a comprehensive introduction to modes of critical practice being used to trace the construction of gender in literature. The collection provides an invaluable overview of current feminist critical thinking. Its essays address a wide range of topics: the relevance of gender scholarship in the social sciences to literary criticism; the tradition of women’s literature and its relation to the canon; the politics of language; French theories of the feminism; psychoanalysis and feminism; feminist criticism of writing by lesbians and by black women; the relationships between female subjectivity, class, and sexuality; feminist readings of the canon.”

This stayed in print for nearly three decades, sold very well. It was published in 1985 and re-issued in 2003. It was translated into Chinese.

6) The Woman’s Part: Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare, co-edited with Carolyn Lenz and Carol Neely
University of Illinois Press

Book on Google

Book on Amazon


From the book jacket: “The contributions span the canon from early histories and comedies to later tragedies and romances…exploring general themes such as rape, female sexuality, and women as actors. The critics…examine Shakespeare’s plays for the interrelationships between men and women, for the nature and effects of patriarchal structures, and for the influence of genre on the portryal of women…It is not a Shakespeare cut to fit polemical patterns, but one freed form earlier restrictions, that the critics in this anthology retrieve, discover, analyze, and celebrate.”

“This distinguished collection of essays will demonstrate two quite different points: 1) that the feminist approach asks some new questions and makes some important new discoveries that could not have been made from any other points of view; and 2) that at its best feminist criticism is like all good criticism, of equal interest to all sensitive readers and of uniersal human value…it will be a widely read and respected book.”—Norman Rabkin, author of Shakespeare and the Common Understanding

“The Lenz, Greene, Neely introduction is an interesting essay in its own right…I like the openess of its attitudes about what ‘feminist’ criticism involves, the plurality of its modes…The whole thing is impressive, a worthy opening for a fine book.” C.L. Barber, author of Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy

The Woman’s Part was the first-ever collection of feminist readings of Shakespeare, and it remained the only one, for many years. It stayed in print for two and a half decades and sold very well. In 2007, it was referred to as one of the most significant books on Shakespeare in the 20th century, by Shaksper: The Global Electronic Shakespeare Conference

SHAKSPER 2007: Most Significant Academic Books on Shakespeare
… and the Popular Traditions in the Theater_ Stephen Greenblatt, _Renaissance Self-Fashioning_ and _Shakespearean Negotiations_ Carolyn Lenz, Gayle Greene, and Carol Neely (eds.), _The Woman’s Part: Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare_ Patricia Parker and Geofrey Hartman, eds. _Shakespeare and the Question … 10/16/07

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