A writer in the trenches convincingly asserts how violence against women diminishes all of us equally.



The enormous toll of violence against women and how it affects everyone.

Despite the success of the #MeToo movement and the exposure of long-standing, high-profile abusers like Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, and R. Kelly, among many others, violence against women is still a significant problem across the globe. DePrince, a psychology professor and recognized authority on the subject, looks at some of the important successes during recent decades—e.g., Take Back the Night movement marches, the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, and a deeper understanding of the complexities of PTSD—while also revealing the interconnected systemic problems that continue to perpetuate violence. The author stresses the need for an inherently different, community-based approach to the problem. “Violence against women ripples out to affect each of us,” she writes, “regardless of our own genders or life histories.” After a brief history of the deeply flawed treatment of “hysteria” in women at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris in the 1860s, DePrince shows how women have always been stigmatized as deficient simply because they are women. During that time—and for decades after—doctors “did not connect lifelong intimate violence and trauma to women’s hysterical symptoms.” The author clearly demonstrates how intimate violence activates a chain of chronic health problems often ignored by health officials. In a rigorous yet occasionally disorganized text, DePrince looks at violence involving guns, school campuses, immigrants, and the pandemic, emphasizing the importance of prevention among youth especially. She delineates how cycles of violence perpetuate poverty, child abuse, and other social ills, including blunted education, lack of job advancement, and unwieldy health care costs. The bottom line, she argues, is that addressing the issue collectively should be a priority for everyone, and she offers a detailed, scholarly framework for change at the end.

A writer in the trenches convincingly asserts how violence against women diminishes all of us equally.

Pub Date: May 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-19-754574-4

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.


“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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