After a busy eight days I was absolutely exhausted and my depression was acting up, so today I have done nothing. I’m feeling much better this evening so I thought I’d write a couple of reviews. I’ve been updating my writers CV and my log of submissions. It’s quite sad, I’ve had a few letters published but nothing else, except for a piece in an anthology about writing, I have two whole sentences in it. I sent a couple of queries off to local papers today but I don’t expect to hear anything, I haven’t when I’ve emailed them before. I keep looking at my submissions log and I’m sure I’ve missed things out; I know I’ve sent queries to a couple of newspapers and to local magazines, I think I must have forgotten to log them. How silly of me.
But that’s enough of that, on to the reviews. Both these books came from netgalley.com and I’ve already given my feedback on that website. I usually wait and do it all at once but I was twitchy last night and needed to distract myself.
The Five Horsemen of the Modern World
by Daniel Callahan
Published by: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: 17th May 2016 (US)
In recent decades, we have seen five perilous and interlocking trends dominate global discourse: irreversible climate change, extreme food and water shortages, rising chronic illnesses, and rampant obesity. Why can’t we make any progress in counteracting these problems despite vast expenditures of intellectual, institutional, and social capital? What makes these global emergencies the “wicked problems” that resist our best efforts and only grow more daunting?
Daniel Callahan, noted author and the nation’s preeminent scholar in bioethics, examines these global problems and shines a light on the institutions, practices, and actors that block major change. We see partisan political and ideological forces, old-fashioned hucksters, and trumped-up scientific disagreements but also the problem of modern progress itself. Obesity, anthropocentric climate change, wasting illnesses, ecological degradation, and global famine are often the unintended consequences of unchecked industrial growth, reckless eating habits, and artificially extended lifespans. Only through well-crafted political, regulatory, industrial, and cultural counterstrategies can we change enough minds to check these threats. Big thinking on issues that are usually evaluated separately, this book is sure to scramble partisan divides and provoke unusual, heated debate.
Daniel Callahan is president emeritus and cofounder of the Hastings Center, which focuses on ethical and policy issues. He has published seventeen volumes, including Taming the Beloved Beast: Why Medical Technology Costs Are Destroying Our Health Care System; Medicine and the Market: Equity vs. Choice; and The Research Imperative: What Price Better Health?
I thought the first few chapter were interesting but then it just got boring. The writing style didn’t really fit the subject matter and the arguments were weak. Aimed at a general, American, audience, it probably is only of slight use to anyone else in the world.
By Marianne Monson
Published by: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Publication Date: 6th September 2016 (US)
These are the stories of twelve women who “heard the call” to settle the west and who came from all points of the globe to begin their journey: the East Coast, Europe, and as far away as New Zealand. They endured unimaginable hardships just to get to their destination and then the next phase of the story begins. These are gripping miniature dramas of good-hearted women, selfless providers, courageous immigrants and migrants, and women with skills too innumerable to list. All the women in this book did extraordinary things. One became a stagecoach driver, disguised as a man. One became a frontier doctor. One was a Gold Rush hotel and restaurant entrepreneur. Many were crusaders for social justice and women’s rights. All endured hardships, overcame obstacles, broke barriers, and changed the world, for which there are inspiring lessons to be learned for the modern woman.
The women in this book deserve a biography each if they don’t already have one, but this book is a bare introduction to them only. It isn’t immensely detailed, nor does it explore deeply the lives of the women chronicled. I read this book in an afternoon, it isn’t a long book. It has some references and further reading suggestions for those interested in knowing more details.
While it was well-enough written that I continued to read for several hours, the ‘lessons for modern women’ paragraphs after each biography put me off. They were simplistic and trite. I’d rather have had a more in-depth look at the lives and motivations of the women in the book, and drawn my own conclusions.
That’s it, I’m off to make myself some food and read about human evolution.