Tag: Book review

Liberal Christians in the Making of Sex Education

In the 1960s conservative Christian leaders like Billy James Hargis and his “Christian Crusade” defined the culture wars over sex education as a battle between secular liberals who wanted to teach comprehensive sex ed in the public schools, and religious conservatives who demanded silence on the subject.[1] That framing has stuck in the cultural imagination…. Read more →

You’ve Never Seen the Opioid Crisis Like This Before: A Review of Empire of Pain

It’s hard to keep up with the ever-growing body of literature on the opioid crisis, which has killed nearly as many Americans in the last two decades as the Civil War and is still getting worse. We are inundated with new books and articles to read, podcasts to listen to, and documentaries and miniseries to… Read more →

Addressing the Language Gap: A Review of Marvels of Medicine: Literature and Scientific Enquiry in Early Colonial Spanish America

The year of reckoning with the twin pandemics of racism and COVID-19 increasingly reminds us to attend to the relationships between health status and narrative experiences – how, for example, art and artists can express and contextualize our understanding of health experiences and inequities. Yet current research shows us the linguistic and cultural gaps still… Read more →

Ending the War on Science: A Review of Maya Goldenberg’s Vaccine Hesitancy

With three highly efficacious vaccines widely available for COVID-19 in the United States (which were developed in record time, breaking the record set by a mumps vaccine in the 1960s), we are beginning to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the effort to reach herd immunity and reduce the COVID-19… Read more →

Women’s Experiences Matter. Natalie Kimball’s An Open Secret: The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia

Women’s experiences matter – this simple truth is at the core of Natalie Kimball’s brilliant new exploration into the tragic history of unwanted pregnancy and abortion in highland Bolivia over the past sixty years. As Kimball so eloquently argues in her book An Open Secret: The History of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Modern Bolivia,… Read more →

Reclaiming Disability Space in an Ableist Society: A Review of Alice Wong’s Disability Visibility

Former president Donald Trump publicly mocked and disparaged disabled people, weakened the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and cut the payroll tax to make Social Security Disability Income run out by 2022. Writing for The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg interpreted that “Trump is deeply anxious about dying or… Read more →

Review of To Make the Wounded Whole: The African American Struggle Against HIV/AIDS by Dan Royles

As we approach the eleventh month of the COVID-19 pandemic, the death rates for Black, Indigenous, and people of color are disproportionately high and rising daily. The national response to the virus echoes the long-term HIV/AIDS pandemic that continues today to rattle the Black world. Dan Royle’s monumental new book, To Make the Wounded Whole:… Read more →

Upholding “First, Do No Harm”: A Review of Sarah B. Rodriguez’s The Love Surgeon

James Burt, an OB/GYN in Dayton, Ohio, spent years developing and perfecting his “love surgery.” He designed it to increase men’s pleasure during sex by “fixing” women’s anatomies so they would get better clitoral stimulation during missionary postion sex. The procedure involved radically altering womens’ genitalia: making the vaginal opening smaller, moving the vaginal opening… Read more →

What About Men’s Reproductive Health?

In her latest book, GUYnecology: The Missing Science of Men’s Reproductive Health, sociologist Rene Almeling asks why all the public health messages about healthy childbearing seem to be aimed at women. What about the research that shows that men’s health is relevant to the condition of their sperm, and can profoundly affect the health of… Read more →

Defining Normal Genitalia: A Review of Camille Nurka’s Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery

Everything, of course, has a history, and in her book, Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery: Deviance, Desire and the Pursuit of Perfection, Camille Nurka seeks to find the historical path leading up to what have been popularly (and not entirely accurately) called “designer vaginas.” These surgeries are often performed, and requested, with the intention of surgically… Read more →