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Bookshelf.

The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception

Debora L. Spar (Harvard Business School Press, 2006, 320pp) This intelligent, candid and groundbreaking book will likely serve many as an introduction to the realities and implications of the reproductive technology industry. The Baby Business is one of the first and most comprehensive scientific, economic and social studies done on the commodification of procreation.

Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves

Adam Hochschild (Houghton Mifflin, 2005, 480pp) In Bury the Chains, Hochschild shows how the fight against the British slave trade waged by only a handful of men in 1787 laid the groundwork for modern grassroots organizing and was one of the most effective and efficient human rights campaigns ever waged. It serves as timely reassurance that social change is possible even in the most resistant climates.

A Church in Search of Itself: Benedict XVI and the Battle for the Future Robert Blair Kaiser (Knopf, 2006, 288pp)

A former Jesuit who became a journalist, Blair is well-situated to give an in-depth and thorough account of Vatican politics and the schisms within the faith. In his latest book, Kaiser provides a provocative look at the divisive issues confronting the church and the key players on both sides of the battle over the future of Catholicism.

Family Transformed: Religion, Values, and Society in American Life Stephen M. Tipton & John Witte Jr., eds. (Georgetown University Press, 2006, 317pp)

This collection of 12 essays explores an institution that has throughout modern history been a cornerstone of American society: the family. Family Transformed offers a multidisciplinary approach to the ever-changing nature of the family and its inextricable links to all other aspects of social and political life.

Habits of Compassion: Irish Catholic Nuns and the Origins of New York's Welfare System, 1830-1920 Maureen Fitzgerald (University of Illinois Press, 2006, 298pp)

Locating the social justice projects of Irish Catholic nuns in New York City as the precursor of state-sponsored welfare programs, this book provides a historical account of their activism, resistance and continued support of marginalized women in the fight to ensure that adequate resources were available to those most in need.

HIV/AIDS in Europe: Moving from Death Sentence to Chronic Disease Management Srdan Matic, Jeffrey V. Lazarus & Martin C. Donoghoe, eds. (World Health Organization, 2006, 273pp)

Leading researchers, doctors and activists in the fight against HIV AIDS in Europe contribute to this important 15-article collection that presents the history and current state of this public health crisis and the challenges to and strategies for prevention, treatment and care. From a range of perspectives as broad as cultural to biomedical, the 31 contributors provide perhaps the most comprehensive account of the epidemic in Europe published to date.

HIV, AIDS & Islam: Reflections on Compassion, Responsibility & Justice Farid Esack (Positive Muslims, 2004, 57pp)

Positive Muslims is a group based in South Africa that works to combat HIV AIDS through raising awareness in Muslim communities, providing support to people who are infected and promoting a Muslim perspective that encourages acceptance and compassion. This pamphlet, written by a co-founder, is a tool for educating Muslims about HIV AIDS and providing just and responsible ways in which Muslim communities can respond to the problem.

How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Sex, Virtue and the Way We Live Now Cristina Page (Basic Books, 2006, 256pp)

Cristina Page, vicepresident of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, presents an account of the ways in which the Religious Right has waged a war against not only abortion but sexual and reproductive freedom as well. She argues that the prochoice movement has been instrumental in keeping a check on fundamentalist religious influence and reminds us what is at stake when we allow a select and nonrepresentative few to police sexual expression.

The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right Rabbi Michael Lerner (HarperSanFrancisco, 2006, 416pp) Rabbi Lerner draws from his extensive experience as an activist, theologian, psychotherapist and co-founder of a progressive interfaith movement. This thorough analysis of American history and ideology is a proposal for a "Spiritual Covenant with America." In his eight-point plan, he argues about what is necessary to challenge the destructive power of the religious and political right and what is needed to actualize his vision of America.

Modern Catholic Teachings: Commentaries & Interpretations Kenneth R. Himes, O.F.M., ed. (Georgetown University Press, 2005, 559pp)

This collection is comprised of commentaries from the foremost experts on Catholic social ethics. The first section offers a look at the foundations of Catholic social thought and is followed by a series of articles examining the official documents in which the social teachings of the church are anchored. The concluding section is dedicated to assessing how these teachings are being received in the US and how we might expect them to change along with our culture and society in years to come.

Politics and Religion in the White South Glenn Feldman, ed. (University Press of Kentucky, 2005, 386pp)

Twelve articles provide a thorough discussion of the preponderant influence of the conservative religious right on public sentiment regarding morality, race, civil rights and the very definition of social progress in the American South and how this has allowed religion (especially the Southern Baptist doctrine) to hold enormous sway over politics in southern states and, arguably, the nation.

Prophetic Politics: Christian Social Movements and American Democracy David S. Gutterman (Cornell University Press, 2005, 222pp)

Even prior to the fundamentalist religious activism so apparent under the current administration, religious narratives have often been used in framing domestic social and political issues. Gutterman explores the narratives employed by four very distinct American Christian social movements, from the conservative Promise Keepers to the more progressive Call to Renewal, as they inform political discourse on a range of issues.

The Right Reforms? Health Sector Reforms and Sexual Reproductive Reform T.K. Sundari Ravindran and Helen de Pinko, eds. (Women's Health Project, 2005, 347pp)

This product of the Initiative for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Health Sector Reforms reviews and evaluates health sector reforms and their impact on women's access to sexual and reproductive health services, specifically focusing on Africa, Asia and Latin America. Through separate discussions of health financing reform, decentralization of health systems, health service integration and local participation, it advocates the implementation of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development's Programme of Action.

Social Capital and Welfare Reform: Organization, Congregation and Communities Jo Anne Schneider (Columbia University Press, 2006, 456pp)

While there have been countless studies on the failure of the economic safety net in this country and why welfare reform initiatives have been met with limited success, very few if any account for the role of social capital. Through ethnographic studies of three major cities, Jo Anne Schneider demonstrates that patterns of trust and social networks facilitate access to the resources necessary for a family to escape poverty and offers suggestions for improving welfare policy accordingly.

Uncompromising Positions: God, Sex and the U.S. House of Representatives Elizabeth Anne Oldmixon (Georgetown University Press, 2005, 244pp)

Oldmixon, an assistant professor of political science at the University of North Texas, looks at the proceedings of the US House of Representatives on issues such as abortion and gay marriage to demonstrate how the cultural divide between progressives and religious traditionalists is negotiated in the political sphere.

What's God Got to Do with It? Robert Ingersoll on Free Thought, Honest Talk & the Separation of Church & State Robert Ingersoll, edited by Tim Page (Steerforth Press, 2005, 133pp)

Robert Ingersoll was an outspoken advocate of women's rights, took on such heated issues as race relations and capital punishment and championed separation of church and state during the mid-1800s. In a timely revival, Tim Page brings Ingersoll's words and ideas back into American political discourse.

Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States NARAL Pro-Choice America & NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation (2006, 87pp)

This 15th edition of NARAL'S annual report on the state of women's reproductive rights across the nation is full of information about everything from abortion and prevention-first legislation to the voting history on reproductive health and rights issues for individual state legislators.

Women and Madness Phyllis Chesler (St. Martin's Press, 2005, 432pp)

Feminist icon Phyllis Chesler has revised and updated this book over thirty years after its original publication in 1972 to reflect the increase in global feminist thinking and account for women's issues that have garnered a lot of attention over the past few decades such as AIDS, weight obsession, depression and suicide, domestic violence and sexuality.
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Author:Hutchinson, Amy
Publication:Conscience
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 22, 2006
Words:1435
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