An informative study of cisgender female care in medicine, from hysteria to Covid-19, with a focus on chronic pain.

PAIN & PREJUDICE

HOW THE MEDICAL SYSTEM IGNORES WOMEN―AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

An exploration of how “women’s pain is all too often dismissed, their illnesses misdiagnosed or ignored."

Jackson, an associate news editor at the Guardian, breezily translates decades of medical research, interviews, and statistics into a book that challenges what we think we know about women’s health and pain. The author, who suffers from endometriosis, expands on her earlier journalism on the condition, writing of the startling misconceptions surrounding cisgender women’s treatment in the medical system. Jackson locates the foundation of modern medicine’s dismissal and misdiagnoses of countless women by detailing the history of hysteria and its insidious consequences for women. For example, she highlights how most people would be surprised to learn that “in 2004, 7.4 million women over 60 years of age died of cardiovascular disease compared with 6.3 million men.” This misconception—that heart disease afflicts the male population more than the female population—is one of many Jackson corrects throughout the book. She adroitly synthesizes complex medical studies and interviews with medical professionals, patients, and researchers. One conclusion is that medical professionals’ current lack of consensus on the best treatments for women with chronic diseases is due to the paucity of clinical trials and dedicated funding for research into how these diseases specifically affect cisgender female patients—or female rodents in trials. Jackson is most effective when she brings together disparate sources and findings to reach digestible conclusions. The author’s personal tale of her struggle with endometriosis creates an engaging familiarity with readers, but her occasionally derisive tone toward men, lumped together as an undifferentiated group, could alienate an otherwise receptive audience. Nonetheless, Jackson is effective in her presentation of pertinent, often surprising information that could help many women stay healthy and find quality, personalized health care.

An informative study of cisgender female care in medicine, from hysteria to Covid-19, with a focus on chronic pain.

Pub Date: March 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77164-716-8

Page Count: 392

Publisher: Greystone Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

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A PROMISED LAND

In the first volume of his presidential memoir, Obama recounts the hard path to the White House.

In this long, often surprisingly candid narrative, Obama depicts a callow youth spent playing basketball and “getting loaded,” his early reading of difficult authors serving as a way to impress coed classmates. (“As a strategy for picking up girls, my pseudo-intellectualism proved mostly worthless,” he admits.) Yet seriousness did come to him in time and, with it, the conviction that America could live up to its stated aspirations. His early political role as an Illinois state senator, itself an unlikely victory, was not big enough to contain Obama’s early ambition, nor was his term as U.S. Senator. Only the presidency would do, a path he painstakingly carved out, vote by vote and speech by careful speech. As he writes, “By nature I’m a deliberate speaker, which, by the standards of presidential candidates, helped keep my gaffe quotient relatively low.” The author speaks freely about the many obstacles of the race—not just the question of race and racism itself, but also the rise, with “potent disruptor” Sarah Palin, of a know-nothingism that would manifest itself in an obdurate, ideologically driven Republican legislature. Not to mention the meddlings of Donald Trump, who turns up in this volume for his idiotic “birther” campaign while simultaneously fishing for a contract to build “a beautiful ballroom” on the White House lawn. A born moderate, Obama allows that he might not have been ideological enough in the face of Mitch McConnell, whose primary concern was then “clawing [his] way back to power.” Indeed, one of the most compelling aspects of the book, as smoothly written as his previous books, is Obama’s cleareyed scene-setting for how the political landscape would become so fractured—surely a topic he’ll expand on in the next volume.

A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6316-9

Page Count: 768

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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