Cesarean deliveries may account for almost one in six deliveries, a trend much censured by natural childbirth advocates and feminist groups, but in specific situations, concisely explained here, it is the only safe means. Hausknecht and Heilman insist, however, that a cesarean (or abdominal) delivery need not be the alienating experience which its critics decry if the mother makes her preferences known. Their book makes clear, step by step, what options are available to the mother--and father--and the advantages and difficulties of each. They describe both regional and general anesthesias, and indicate when the father can share the event (if the mother is awake), when his presence is superfluous. The postpartum period is more problematic--and often more unsettling--than after a natural delivery, but if the baby is healthy (and many do have suitable Apgar ratings) bonding experiences can proceed. The authors mention the fogginess effect on the baby but dispute its importance, asserting that long-range consequences are unestablished, and they don't really attend to the criticism that some doctors have used cesareans for their own convenience in scheduling. But they do systematically examine the medical issues most frequently involved, providing information comprehensive and direct enough to read in the labor room.