Author of Methods of Childbirth (1972) and public health childbirth specialist, Constance Bean is no casual Observer. An outspoken advocate of childbirth without technology or medicinal intervention, she visited Labor and Delivery rooms all over the country and describes what she saw. Repeatedly she points out routine procedures contraindicated by current research and shows herself conversant with recent developments: on today's charts, FDR means Father in Delivery Room. Although she witnessed several natural deliveries and saw some few hospitals adopting policies responsive to maternal demands, more often she found depersonalization and doctors doing procedures in pursuit of 9:00-5:00 obstetrics. Equally distressing is the number of women who enter labor with no decision--and frequently no knowledge--about their options; even those prepared with breathing exercises and husbands at hand yield readily to white uniforms, rarely questioning on-the-spot changes. Bean's preference is always clearly articulated but her main concern is that women understand their bodies and make an informed choice about childbirth. Many tense moments (a blind couple's at-home birth on a waterbed), a few oddities (sauteed placenta from a vegetarian), and a consistently high regard for women and their special needs.