A MATTER OF PEOPLE by Dom Moraes

A MATTER OF PEOPLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The United Nations Fund for Population Activities asked Moraes to write a book about ""world population problems"" as a ""literate layman"" for other literate laymen. Moraes spent six months visiting India, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Kenya, Gabon, Senegal, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Brazil and, for good measure, New York City, where he interviewed the heads of family planning agencies, government and U.N. officials. Although he has a quite readable style and he shows a lot of pluck in taking on such a vast, ill-defined assignment, the result is an uncoordinated book. He does, though, convey a memorable impression of the family planning personnel throughout the various countries working with the patient zeal of missionaries, keeping their faith against overwhelming odds that the vast living organism called population can regulate its own growth. Political conditions are not discussed, and the distinctions of culture, social tradition and religion are haphazardly applied. The reader must be content with the interesting, random facts: the pill is accepted in Singapore but not in India; Catholicism is a barrier to contraception in Manila but not in Santiago; machismo is everywhere. ""Perhaps one reason why people are always a problem,"" Moraes observes at one point, ""is that their reactions tend to be so excessively instinctual."" If he is suggesting that deeper thought and better planning would help, we can only agree and wish that more of both had gone into this book.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1974
Publisher: Praeger