Tag: Book review

Reckoning with the History of Racial Marketing of Menthol Cigarettes

In Pushing Cool, Dr. Keith Wailoo presents a sixty-year history of menthol cigarettes becoming a racialized product. Wailoo has written a number of essential books on race, racism, and health since the 1990s, including Pain: A Political History and How Cancer Crossed the Color Line. This is the first of Wailoo’s books to deal with… Read more →

The Family Roe and the Messy Reality of the Abortion “Jane Roe” Didn’t Get

I almost didn’t read The Family Roe: An American Story by Joshua Prager. When I saw the premise – a biography of Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, and her family – I wasn’t immediately sure why I should care. I study the broad-scale social history of reproductive health and I had… Read more →

Healthy by Design? Reflections on The Topography of Wellness by Sara Jensen Carr

If the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated a unique ability to muddle our perceptions of time, it has also made us acutely aware of space and movement. Working from home, like so many others, I find myself counting down the hours to the words “HOT GIRL WALK” in my list of daily tasks. Lucky enough to… Read more →

A Love Letter to Intellectual Mothers

Marga Vicedo’s Intelligent Love: The Story of Clara Park, Her Autistic Daughter, and the Myth of the Refrigerator Mother is a love letter to intellectual mothers. And Vicedo’s warm and astute delivery exemplifies the blending of love and intellect Vicedo discerns in her subject, Clara Park. The book is centered around Park, whose odyssey of… Read more →

What Does It Mean to Have a “Real Choice” about Abortion?

What does it mean to have a “real choice” about abortion? I am writing this book review as the Supreme Court hears arguments over Mississippi’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, and it could seem like the wrong time for arguing the subtleties of this question. Abortion may become flat-out illegal throughout the… Read more →

Matrix: Lauren Groff’s Visions of the Medieval

The title of Lauren Groff’s ambitious new novel, Matrix, is deliberately multivalent. In Latin, it points us toward the leader and mother of a women’s religious community. It also means a system of categorizing and understanding knowledge, a system within which things come into being. Among other things, the novel is a Bildungsroman for its… Read more →

Vanguard: The Fights that Connect Black Women Activists across More Than Two Centuries

My undergraduate and MA adviser, Dr. Angela Howard, argued that women across time and space often have remarkably similar experiences if you zero in on major events in their lives. These include first marriages, first babies, menopause, or widowhood. She encouraged me to compare women at these moments of their lives even if they occurred… Read more →

Acting Up and Fighting Back: Stories of ACT UP

Sarah Schulman’s Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987–1993 and Peter Staley’s memoir, Never Silent: ACT UP and My Life in Activism aren’t in conversation with one another so much as they are different versions of the same story. Both focus on the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT… Read more →

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 →