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Notable Books

Notable Books | Four recent nonfiction books

Issue: "Return to war?," May 5, 2012

Malignant: Medical Ethicists Confront Cancer

What happens when those who make their living opining on medical ethics get cancer? They become patients, experiencing personally the issues they've previously only written about. They come face-to-face with uncaring doctors, doctors who spend little time explaining options, and doctors who are afraid to break bad news. They wrestle with decisions about treatment. One even found herself making the foolish decision to refuse a feeding tube, putting her life in danger. Although written for an academic audience, the essays are useful for anyone interested in better medical care and treatment. Leon Kass' excellent essay deals with the big question of how to live well in the face of mortality.

Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution

"No single event since Eve took the apple has been as consequential for relations between the sexes as the arrival of modern contraception." With that provocative statement, Mary Eberstadt begins her argument that the sexual revolution has been a disaster for many, especially the weakest among us. Her arguments will be familiar to many WORLD readers-but she says the reigning orthodoxy ignores or suppresses the data that support them. Eberstadt notes increased attention to the morality of food and less to that of sex, and suggests that acceptance of pornography may decline as acceptance of smoking has declined. She also asserts that the Catholic priest sex scandals interrupted a trend toward greater acceptance of pederasty.

The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith

Bowman is an able guide through the decades, personalities, and doctrines that make up Mormon history. Beginning with Joseph Smith in upstate New York, Bowman crafts a fascinating and well-researched narrative that shows how this modern religion is both similar to and opposed to the evangelicalism from which it grew. He shows how the church developed and changed, emphasizing and jettisoning doctrines depending on whether it was trying to separate from or blend in with the larger culture. Critics of the LDS church, both Christian and secular, might object that Bowman is too even-handed. Christians who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture will be surprised by the plasticity of Mormon belief.

Girls Uncovered

Written by two doctors affiliated with the conservative Medical Institute for Sexual Health, this handbook details the dangers facing young girls today. Drawing from current research, the authors document the prevalence of premature sexual activity, the risk of sexually transmitted infections, and the risk of pregnancy. The second half of the book examines what society, parents, and young women need to do to change this bad news. The emphasis on data and studies is the book's strength and also its weakness. Too often we use data to make an argument against premarital sex. We need to become better at explaining what we are for.

Spotlight

The Encyclopedia Britannica announced in March that it would discontinue its 32-volume print edition when current supplies run out. The encyclopedia was first published in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1768, and has been printed continuously for 244 years. Sales jumped from 60 sets a week prior to the announcement to 1,050 sets a week after, as buyers raced to scoop up the remaining 4,000 sets priced at $1,395 per set.

If you think you've noticed changes when reading the New International Version of the Bible online, you could be right. According to BibleGateway.com, the version listed as the NIV is actually the NIV 2011 version. An interested reader received this explanation from BibleGateway.com: "The NIV's 2011 edition is being listed as just the NIV at the request of the publisher. The NIV 2011 text supersedes its predecessor, so from this point forward, this new text is considered the NIV, both on Bible Gateway and in print." BibleGateway.com will continue to provide both versions as long as the publisher makes them available.

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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