SHATTERING SILENCES

STRATEGIES TO PREVENT SEXUAL ASSAULT, HEAL SURVIVORS, AND BRING ASSAILANTS TO JUSTICE

A hopeful report that is more triumph than trauma in the prosecution of sexual assault cases past and present.

A timely update on efforts to combat sexual assault in America.

In a narrative bolstered by extensive research involving clinical professionals and law enforcement experts, Ohio-based journalist Johnston investigates how rape cases are processed today after decades of mishandling. Focusing primarily on the Cleveland area, the author spent eight years researching rape and sexual assault, and he presents his findings through the case histories of several survivors. Their stories are indeed unsettling, with many left unresolved for decades and now resurfacing through the advent of DNA analytics. Johnston reports on the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, and he compassionately profiles a group of “healers” comprised of sexual assault nurse examiners charged with the intake and rape-kit follow-through for assault victims. The victim’s stories, however, are the true heart of the book, conveying a palpable sense of suffering. From a law enforcement perspective, Johnston looks at a Cleveland police commander responsible for the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit who acknowledges that this particular work is psychologically and emotionally difficult and “not for everybody.” Even more exacting is the work of an Ohio crime lab where forensic pathologists process rape kits and scrutinize DNA samples, now considered “law enforcement’s greatest weapon” in convicting rapists. The legally irrefutable science of DNA examination, writes the author, is also making it possible for sexual assault cold cases to be reopened and litigated, as with the valiant ordeal of a girl who was raped 20 years ago at the age of 14. In Detroit, Johnston brings to life the court battles of rape victims and the challenges facing prosecutors attempting to exhume a backlog of rape kits for tracking and reanalysis. Though the challenges facing tireless task force detectives, medical staff, and community psychologists may seem insurmountable, the author’s hard-hitting, victim-centered report reveals the great strides being made toward achieving justice through collaborative and tech-innovative investigation.

A hopeful report that is more triumph than trauma in the prosecution of sexual assault cases past and present.

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-2757-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

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

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

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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