Sciences & Techniques

  • Political or social groups wanting to commit mass murder on the basis of racial, ethnic or religious differences are never hindered by a lack of willing executioners. In Becoming Evil, social psychologist James Waller uncovers the internal and external factors that can lead ordinary people to commit extraordinary acts of evil.
    Waller debunks the common explanations for genocide- group think, psychopathology, unique cultures- and offers a more sophisticated and comprehensive psychological view of how anyone can potentially participate in heinous crimes against humanity. He outlines the evolutionary forces that shape human nature, the individual dispositions that are more likely to engage in acts of evil, and the context of cruelty in which these extraordinary acts can emerge. Illustrative eyewitness accounts are presented at the end of each chapter. An important new look at how evil develops, Becoming Evil will help us understand such tragedies as the Holocaust and recent terrorist events. Waller argues that by becoming more aware of the things that lead to extraordinary evil, we will be less likely to be surprised by it and less likely to be unwitting accomplices through our passivity.

  • School refusal behavior is a common and difficult problem facing parents of children and teenagers. The behavior can have severe consequences by contributing to a child's academic, social, and psychological problems. A child's absence from school can also significantly increase family conflict. If your child experiences anxiety or noncompliance about attending school and has trouble remaining in classes for an entire day, this workbook, and the corresponding Therapist Guide, can help.
    This Parent Workbook is designed to help you work with a qualified therapist to resolve your child's school refusal behavior. The Workbook outlines four possible treatment procedures that may be prescribed by a therapist, depending on your child's reasons for refusing school. Scientific evidence has shown these programs to be highly effective in treating youth 5-17 years old who exhibit school refusal behavior.
    Regardless of whether your child refuses school to relieve school-related distress, to avoid negative social situations at school, to receive attention from you or another family member, or to obtain tangible rewards outside of school, the flexible treatments described in this book will help you and your child overcome school refusal behavior. The Workbook describes what you can expect during your child's assessment and treatment and provides answers to questions you may have about the process. It also provides instructions for continuing certain aspects of the program at home, including relaxation and breathing techniques, as well as exposure exercises to decrease your childs anxiety. Instructions are also given for completing daily logbooks with your child to track progress, creating a morning routine to keep you both on schedule, and developing written contracts to enhance attendance and discourage nonattendance. With this user-friendly manual, you can take an active role in your childs successful return to school.

  • Few Americans and even fewer citizens of other nations understand the electoral process in the United States. Still fewer understand the role played by political parties in the electoral process or the ironies within the system. Participation in elections in the United States is much lower than in the vast majority of mature democracies. Perhaps this is because of the lack of competition in a country where only two parties have a true chance of winning, despite the fact that a large number of citizens claim allegiance to neither and think badly of both. Or perhaps it is because in the U.S. campaign contributions disproportionately favor incumbents in most legislative elections, or that largely unregulated groups such as the now notorious 527s have as much impact on the outcome of a campaign as do the parties or the candidates' campaign organizations. Studying these factors, you begin to get a very clear picture indeed of the problems that underlay our much trumpeted electoral system.
    This Very Short Introduction introduces the reader to these issues and more, providing an insider's view of how the system actually works while shining a light on some of its flaws. As we enter what is sure to be yet another highly contested election year, it is more important than ever that Americans take the time to learn the system that puts so many in power.
    About the Series:
    Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

  • A remarkable number of women today are taking the daunting step of having children outside of marriage. In Single By Chance, Mothers By Choice, Rosanna Hertz offers the first full-scale account of this fast-growing phenomenon, revealing why these middle class women took this unorthodox path and how they have managed to make single parenthood work for them.
    Hertz interviewed 65 women--ranging from physicians and financial analysts to social workers, teachers, and secretaries--women who speak candidly about how they manage their lives and families as single mothers. What Hertz discovers are not ideologues but reluctant revolutionaries, women who--whether straight or gay--struggle to conform to the conventional definitions of mother, child, and family. Having tossed out the rulebook in order to become mothers, they nonetheless adhere to time-honored rules about child-rearing. As they tell their stories, they shed light on their paths to motherhood, describing how they summoned up the courage to pursue their dream, how they broke the news to parents, siblings, friends, and co-workers, how they went about buying sperm from fertility banks or adopting children of different races. They recount how their personal and social histories intersected to enable them to pursue their dream of motherhood, and how they navigate daily life. What does it mean to be 'single' in terms of romance and parenting? How do women juggle earning a paycheck with parenting? What creative ways have women devised to shore up these families? How do they incorporate men into their child-centered families? This book provides concrete, informative answers to all these questions.
    A unique window on the future of the family, this book offers a gold mine of insight and reassurance for any woman contemplating this rewarding if unconventional step.

  • National parks played a unique role in the development of wildfire management on American public lands. With a different mission and powerful meaning to the public, the national parks were a psychic battleground for the contests between fire suppression and its use as a management tool. Blazing Heritage tells how the national parks shaped federal fire management.

  • Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind is a uniquely intensive psychological analysis of a suicidal mind. In this poignant scientific study, Edwin S. Shneidman, a founder of the field of suicidology, assembles an extraordinary cast of eight renowned experts to analyze the suicidal materials, including a ten-page suicide note, given to him by a distraught mother looking for insights into her son's tragic death. The psychological autopsy centers on the interviews conducted by Shneidman with Arthur's mother, father, brother, sister, best friend, ex-wife, girlfriend, psychotherapist, and attending physician.
    To gain some understanding of this man's intense psychological pain and to examine what may have been done to save his tortured life, Shneidman approached the top suicide experts in the country to analyze the note and interviews: Morton Silverman, Robert E. Litman, Jerome Motto, Norman L. Farberow, John T. Maltsberger, Ronald Maris, David Rudd, and Avery D. Weisman. Each of the eight experts offers a unique perspective on Arthur's tragic fate, and the sum of their conclusions constitutes an extraordinary psychological autopsy.
    This book is the first of its kind and a remarkable contribution to the study of suicide. Mental health professionals, students of human nature, and persons whose lives have been touched by this merciless topic will be mesmerized and enlightened by this unique volume. An epistemological tour de force, it will speak to anyone who is concerned with human self-destruction.

  • The United Kingdom has more than 4.2 million public closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras-one for every fourteen citizens. Across the United States, hundreds of video surveillance systems are being installed in town centers, public transportation facilities, and schools at a cost exceeding $100 million annually. And now other Western countries have begun to experiment with CCTV to prevent crime in public places. In light of this expansion and the associated public expenditure, as well as pressing concerns about privacy rights, there is an acute need for an evidence-based approach to inform policy and practice.
    Drawing on the highest-quality research, criminologists Brandon C. Welsh and David P. Farrington assess the effectiveness and social costs of not only CCTV, but also of other important surveillance methods to prevent crime in public space, such as improved street lighting, security guards, place managers, and defensible space. Importantly, the book goes beyond the question of "Does it work?" and examines the specific conditions and contexts under which these surveillance methods may have an effect on crime as well as the mechanisms that bring about a reduction in crime.
    At a time when cities need cost-effective methods to fight crime and the public gradually awakens to the burdens of sacrificing their privacy and civil rights for security, Welsh and Farrington provide this timely and reliable guide to the most effective and non-invasive uses of surveillance to make public places safer from crime.

  • It's hard to think of a single aspect of American culture, past or present, in which religion has not played a major role. The roles religion plays, moreover, become more bewilderingly complex and diverse every day. For all those who want--whether out of curiosity, necessity, or civic duty--a vivid picture and fuller understanding of the current reality of religion in America, this Very Short Introduction is the go-to book they need.
    Timothy Beal describes many aspects of religion in contemporary America that are typically ignored in other books on the subject, including religion in popular culture and counter-cultural groups; the growing phenomenon of "hybrid" religious identities, both individual and collective; the expanding numbers of new religious movements, or NRMs, in America; and interesting examples of "outsider religion," such as Paradise Gardens in Georgia and the People Love People House of God in Ohio. He also offers an engaging overview of the history of religion in America, from Native American traditions to the present day. Beal sees three major forces shaping the present and future of religion in America: first, unprecedented religious diversity, which will continue to grow in the decades to come; second, the information revolution and the emergence of a new network society; and third, the rise of consumer culture. Taken together, these forces offer the potential to create a new American pluralism that would enrich society in unimaginable ways, but they also threaten the great ideal of e pluribus unum.
    With visual aids that help readers navigate America's diverse religious landscape, this informative, thoughtful, and provocative book is a must-read in the emerging public conversation concerning religion in America.
    About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the great icons of Western music. An amazing prodigy--he toured the capitals of Europe while still a child, astonishing royalty and professional musicians with his precocious skills--he wrote as an adult some of the finest music in the entire European tradition.
    Julian Rushton offers a concise and up-to-date biography of this musical genius, combining a well-researched life of the composer with an introduction to the works--symphonic, chamber, sacred, and theatrical--of one of the few musicians in history to have written undisputed masterpieces across every genre of his time. Rushton offers a vivid portrait of the composer, ranging from Mozart the Wunderkind--travelling with his family from Salzburg to Vienna, Paris, London, Rome, and Milan--to the mature author of such classic works as "The Marriage of Figaro", "Don Giovanni", and "The Magic Flute". During the past half-century, scholars have thoroughly explored Mozart's life and music, offering new interpretations of his compositions based on their historical context and providing a factual basis for confirming or, more often, debunking fanciful accounts of the man and his work. Rushton takes full advantage of these biographical and musical studies as well as the definitive New Mozart Edition to provide an accurate account of Mozart's life and, equally important, an insightful look at the music itself, complete with musical examples.
    An engaging biography for general readers that will also be an informative resource for scholars, this new addition to the prestigious Master Musicians series offers an authoritative portrait of one of the defining figures of European culture.

  • Here is a thorough, vividly written introduction to contemporary philosophy and some of the most crucial questions of human existence: the nature of mind and knowledge, the status of moral claims, the existence of God, the role of science, and the mysteries of language, among them.
    In Thinking It Through, esteemed philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah shows us what it means to "do" philosophy in our time and why it should matter to anyone who wishes to live a more thoughtful life. Opposing the common misconceptions that being a philosopher means espousing a set of philosophical beliefs, or being a follower of a particular thinker, Appiah argues that "the result of philosophical exploration is not the end of inquiry in a settled opinion, but a mind resting more comfortably among many possibilities, or else the reframing of the question, and a new inquiry." Thinking It Through is organized around eight central topics--mind, knowledge, language, science, morality, politics, law, and metaphysics. It traces how philosophers in the past have considered each subject (how Hobbes, Wittgenstein, and Frege, for example, approached the problem of language) and then explores some of the major questions that still engage philosophers today. More important, Appiah shows us not only what philosophers have thought but how they think, giving us examples we might use in our own attempts to navigate the complex issues that confront any reflective person in the 21st century.
    Filled with concrete examples of how philosophers work and written in the liveliest prose, Thinking It Through guides readers through the process of philosophical reflection and enlarges our understanding of the central questions of human life.

  • Nat Turner's name rings through American history with a force all its own. Leader of the most important slave rebellion on these shores, variously viewed as a murderer of unarmed women and children, an inspired religious leader, a fanatic--this puzzling figure represents all the terrible complexities of American slavery. And yet we do not know what he looked like, where he is buried, or even whether Nat Turner was his real name.
    In Nat Turner: A Slave Rebellion in History and Memory, Kenneth S. Greenberg gathers twelve distinguished scholars to offer provocative new insight into the man, his rebellion, and his time, and his place in history. The historians here explore Turner's slave community, discussing the support for his uprising as well as the religious and literary context of his movement. They examine the place of women in his insurrection, and its far-reaching consequences (including an extraordinary 1832 Virginia debate about ridding the state of slavery). Here are discussions of Turner's religious visions--the instructions he received from God to kill all of his white oppressors. Louis Masur places him against the backdrop of the nation's sectional crisis, and Douglas Egerton puts his revolt in the context of rebellions across the Americas. We trace Turner's passage through American memory through fascinating interviews with William Styron on his landmark novel, The Confessions of Nat Turner, and with Dr. Alvin Poussaint, one of the "ten black writers" of the 1960s who bitterly attacked Styron's vision of Turner. Finally, we follow Nat Turner into the world of Hollywood.
    Nat Turner has always been controversial, an emblem of the searing wound of slavery in American life. This book offers a clear-eyed look at one of the best known and least understood figures in our history.

  • American identity has always been capacious as a concept but narrow in its application. Citizenship has mostly been about being here, either through birth or residence. The territorial premises for citizenship have worked to resolve the peculiar challenges of American identity. But globalization is detaching identity from location. What used to define American was rooted in American space. Now one can be anywhere and be an American, politically or culturally. Against that backdrop, it becomes difficult to draw the boundaries of human community in a meaningful way. Longstanding notions of democratic citizenship are becoming obsolete, even as we cling to them. Beyond Citizenship charts the trajectory of American citizenship and shows how American identity is unsustainable in the face of globalization.

    Peter J. Spiro describes how citizenship law once reflected and shaped the American national character. Spiro explores the histories of birthright citizenship, naturalization, dual citizenship, and how those legal regimes helped reinforce an otherwise fragile national identity. But on a shifting global landscape, citizenship status has become increasingly divorced from any sense of actual community on the ground. As the bonds of citizenship dissipate, membership in the nation-state becomes less meaningful. The rights and obligations distinctive to citizenship are now trivial. Naturalization requirements have been relaxed, dual citizenship embraced, and territorial birthright citizenship entrenched--developments that are all irreversible. Loyalties, meanwhile, are moving to transnational communities defined in many different ways: by race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, and sexual orientation. These communities, Spiro boldly argues, are replacing bonds that once connected people to the nation-state, with profound implications for the future of governance.

    Learned, incisive, and sweeping in scope, Beyond Citizenship offers a provocative look at how globalization is changing the very definition of who we are and where we belong.

  • The matriarch of a remarkable African American family, Sally Thomas went from being a slave on a tobacco plantation, to a "virtually free" slave who ran her own business and purchased one of her sons out of bondage. In Search of the Promised Land offers a vivid portrait of the extended Thomas-Rapier family and of the life of slaves before the Civil War.
    Based on family letters as well as an autobiography by one of Thomas' sons, this remarkable piece of detective work follows a singular group as they walk the boundary between slave and free, traveling across the country in search of a "promised land" where African Americans would be treated with respect. Their record of these journeys provides a vivid picture of antebellum America, stretching from New Orleans to St. Louis, from the Overland Trail to the California Gold Rush, and from Civil War battles to steamboat adventures. John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger weave a compelling narrative that illuminates the larger themes of slavery and freedom. To a remarkable degree, this small family experienced the full gamut of slavery, witnessing everything from the breakup of slave families, brutal punishment, and runaways, to miscegenation, insurrection panics, and slave patrols. They also illuminate the hidden lives of " virtually free" slaves, who maintained close relationships with whites, maneuvered within the system, and gained a large measure of autonomy.
    The Thomas-Rapiers were keen observers of the human condition. Through the eyes of this exceptional family and the indomitable black woman who held them together, we witness aspects of human bondage otherwise hidden from view.

  • Secrecy is one of the defining characteristics of the Italian Mafia. Wiretaps, financial records, and the rare informant occasionally reveal its inner workings, but these impressions are all too often spotty and fleeting, hampering serious scholarship on this major form of criminal activity.
    During her years as a consultant to the Italian government agency responsible for combating organized crime, Letizia Paoli was given unparalleled insider access to the confessions by pentiti (literally, repentants), former Mafia operatives who had turned. This mafia "hard core" came primarily from the two largest and most influential Southern Italian mafia associations, known as Cosa Nostra and 'Ndrangheta, each composed of about one hundred mafia families. The sheer volume of these confessions, numbering in the hundreds, and the detail they contained, enabled the Italian government to effectively break up the Italian mafia in one of the dramatic law enforcement successes in modern times. It is on these same documents that Paoli draws to provide a clinically accurate portrait of mafia behavior, motivations, and structure.
    Puncturing academic notions of a modernized Mafia, Paoli argues that to view mafia associations as bureaucracies, illegal enterprises, or an industry specializing in private protection, is overly simplistic and often inaccurate. These conceptions do not adequately describe the range of functions in which the mafia engages, nor do they hint at the mafia's limitations. The mafia, Paoli demonstrates are essentially multifunctional ritual brotherhoods focused above all on retaining and consolidating their local political power base. It is precisely this myopia that has prevented these organizations from developing the skills needed to be a successful and lasting player in the entrepreneurial world of illegal global commerce.
    A truly interdisciplinary work of history, politics, economics, and sociology, Mafia Brotherhoods reveals in dramatic detail the true face of one of the world's most mythologized criminal organizations.

  • Suppose you knew that, though you yourself would live your life to its natural end, the earth and all its inhabitants would be destroyed thirty days after your death. To what extent would you remain committed to your current projects and plans? Would scientists still search for a cure for cancer? Would couples still want children?
    In Death and the Afterlife, philosopher Samuel Scheffler poses this thought experiment in order to show that the continued life of the human race after our deaths--the "afterlife" of the title--matters to us to an astonishing and previously neglected degree. Indeed, Scheffler shows that, in certain important respects, the future existence of people who are as yet unborn matters more to us than our own continued existence and the continued existence of those we love. Without the expectation that humanity has a future, many of the things that now matter to us would cease to do so. By contrast, the prospect of our own deaths does little to undermine our confidence in the value of our activities. Despite the terror we may feel when contemplating our deaths, the prospect of humanity's imminent extinction would pose a far greater threat to our ability to lead lives of wholehearted engagement. Scheffler further demonstrates that, although we are not unreasonable to fear death, personal immortality, like the imminent extinction of humanity, would also undermine our confidence in the values we hold dear. His arresting conclusion is that, in order for us to lead value-laden lives, what is necessary is that we ourselves should die and that others should live.
    Death and the Afterlife concludes with commentary by four distinguished philosophers--Harry Frankfurt, Niko Kolodny, Seana Shiffrin, and Susan Wolf--who discuss Scheffler's ideas with insight and imagination. Scheffler adds a final reply.

  • The world is not as mobile or as interconnected as we like to think. As Harm de Blij argues in The Power of Place, in crucial ways--from the uneven distribution of natural resources to the unequal availability of opportunity--geography continues to hold billions of people in its grip. We are all born into natural and cultural environments that shape what we become, individually and collectively. From our "mother tongue" to our father's faith, from medical risks to natural hazards, where we start our journey has much to do with our destiny. Hundreds of millions of farmers in the river basins of Asia and Africa, and tens of millions of shepherds in isolated mountain valleys from the Andes to Kashmir, all live their lives much as their distant ancestors did, remote from the forces of globalization. Incorporating a series of persuasive maps, De Blij describes the tremendously varied environments across the planet and shows how migrations between them are comparatively rare. De Blij also looks at the ways we are redefining place so as to make its power even more potent than it has been, with troubling implications.

  • This classic study of ethics in business presents an eye-opening account of how corporate managers think the world works, and how big organizations shape moral consciousness. Robert Jackall takes the reader inside a topsy-turvy world where hard work does not necessarily lead to success, but sharp talk, self-promotion, powerful patrons, and sheer luck might. What sort of everyday rules-in-use do people play by when there are no fixed standards to explain why some succeed and others fail? In the words of one corporate manager, those rules boil down to this maxim: "What is right in the corporation is what the guy above you wants from you. That's what morality is in the corporation." This brilliant, disturbing, funny look at the ethos of the corporate world presents compelling real life stories of the men and women charged with running the businesses of America. This anniversary edition includes an afterword by the author linking the themes of Moral Mazes to the financial tsunami that engulfed the world economy in 2008.

  • Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House evokes a highly gratifying image in the popular mind -- it was, many believe, a moment that transcended politics, a moment of healing, a moment of patriotism untainted by ideology. But as Elizabeth Varon reveals in this vividly narrated history, this rosy image conceals a seething debate over precisely what the surrender meant and what kind of nation would emerge from war. The combatants in that debate included the iconic Lee and Grant, but they also included a cast of characters previously overlooked, who brought their own understanding of the war's causes, consequences, and meaning.
    In Appomattox, Varon deftly captures the events swirling around that well remembered-but not well understood-moment when the Civil War ended. She expertly depicts the final battles in Virginia, when Grant's troops surrounded Lee's half-starved army, the meeting of the generals at the McLean House, and the shocked reaction as news of the surrender spread like an electric charge throughout the nation. But as Varon shows, the ink had hardly dried before both sides launched a bitter debate over the meaning of the war. For Grant, and for most in the North, the Union victory was one of right over wrong, a vindication of free society; for many African Americans, the surrender marked the dawn of freedom itself. Lee, in contrast, believed that the Union victory was one of might over right: the vast impersonal Northern war machine had worn down a valorous and unbowed South. Lee was committed to peace, but committed, too, to the restoration of the South's political power within the Union and the perpetuation of white supremacy. Lee's vision of the war resonated broadly among Confederates and conservative northerners, and inspired Southern resistance to reconstruction.
    Did America's best days lie in the past or in the future? For Lee, it was the past, the era of the founding generation. For Grant, it was the future, represented by Northern moral and material progress. They held, in the end, two opposite views of the direction of the country-and of the meaning of the war that had changed that country forever.

  • Mormons are adamant that they are Christian, and eloquent writers within their own faith have tried to make this case, but no theologian outside the LDS church has ever tried to demonstrate just how Christian they are. Stephen H. Webb's Mormon Christianity: What Other Christians Can Learn from the Latter-day Saints fills this void, as the author writes neither as a critic nor a defender of Mormonism but as a sympathetic observer who is deeply committed to engaging with Mormon ideas.
    Webb is unique in taking Mormon theology seriously by showing how it provides plausible and in some instances even persuasive alternatives to many traditional Christian doctrines. His book can serve as an introduction to Mormonism, but it goes far beyond that: Webb explains how Mormonism is a branch of the Christian family tree that extends well beyond what most Christians have ever imagined. His account of their creative appropriation of the Christian tradition is meant to inspire more traditional Christians to reconsider the shape of many basic Christian beliefs.
    Mormon Christianity is not all affirming and celebratory. It ends with a call to Mormons to be more focused on Christian essentials and an invitation to other Christians to be more imaginative in considering Mormon alternatives to traditional doctrines.

  • After decades of rigorous study in the United States and across the Western world, a great deal is known about the early risk factors for offending. High impulsiveness, low attainment, criminal parents, parental conflict, and growing up in a deprived, high-crime neighborhood are among the most important factors. There is also a growing body of high quality scientific evidence on the effectiveness of early prevention programs designed to prevent children from embarking on a life of crime.
    Drawing on the latest evidence, Saving Children from a Life of Crime is the first book to assess the early causes of offending and what works best to prevent it. Preschool intellectual enrichment, child skills training, parent management training, and home visiting programs are among the most effective early prevention programs. Criminologists David Farrington and Brandon Welsh also outline a policy strategy--early prevention--that uses this current research knowledge and brings into sharper focus what America's national crime fighting priority ought to be.

    At a time when unacceptable crime levels in America, rising criminal justice costs, and a punitive crime policy have spurred a growing interest in the early prevention of delinquency, Farrington and Welsh here lay the groundwork for change with a comprehensive national prevention strategy to save children from a life of crime.

  • In the fifty years since DNA was discovered, we have seen extraordinary advances. For example, genetic testing has rapidly improved the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as Huntington's, cystic fibrosis, breast cancer, and Alzheimer's. But with this new knowledge comes difficult decisions for countless people, who wrestle with fear about whether to get tested, and if so, what to do with the results.
    Am I My Genes? shows how real individuals have confronted these issues in their daily lives. Robert L. Klitzman interviewed 64 people who faced Huntington's Disease, breast and ovarian cancer, or Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. The book describes--often in the person's own words--how each has wrestled with the vast implications that genetics has for their lives and their families. Klitzman shows how these men and women struggle to make sense of their predicament and its causes. They confront a series of quandaries--whether to be tested; whether to disclose their genetic risks to parents, siblings, spouses, offspring, friends, doctors, insurers, employers, and schools; how to view and understand themselves and their genetics; what treatments, if any, to pursue; whether to have children, adopt, screen embryos, or abort; and whether to participate in genetic communities. In the face of these uncertainties, they have tried to understand these tests and probabilities, avoid fatalism, anxiety, despair, and discrimination, and find hope, meaning, and a sense of wholeness. Forced to wander through a wilderness of shifting sands, they chart paths that many others may eventually follow.

    Klitzman captures here the voices of pioneers, some of the first to encounter the personal dilemmas introduced by modern genetics. Am I My Genes? is an invaluable account of their experience, one that will become all the more common in the coming years.
    "An extraordinary exploration...probing the many roles and implications of genetics in our lives today.... Filled with astonishing insights, this riveting book is vital reading for us all."
    --Paula Zahn
    "Klitzman lucidly discusses the moral and psychological complexities that come in the wake of genetic testing.... An important book for anyone who has the genes for pathology, which is all of us, and I recommend it highly."
    --Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind
    "An illuminating voyage through the medical, familial and existential quandaries faced by those of us at genetic risk."
    --Thomas H. Murray, President and CEO, The Hastings Center

  • This compact and innovative book tackles one of the central issues in drug policy: the lack of a coherent conceptual structure for thinking about drugs. Drugs generally fall into one of seven categories: prescription, over the counter, alternative medicine, common-use drugs like alcohol, tobacco and caffeine; religious-use, sports enhancement; and of course illegal street drugs like cocaine and marijuana. Our thinking and policies varies wildly from one to the other, with inconsistencies that derive more from cultural and social values than from medical or scientific facts. Penalties exist for steroid use, while herbal remedies or cold medication are legal. Native Americans may legally use peyote, but others may not. Penalties may vary for using different forms of the same drug, such as crack vs. powder cocaine. Herbal remedies are unregulated by the FDA; but medical marijuana is illegal in most states.

    Battin and her contributors lay a foundation for a wiser drug policy by promoting consistency and coherency in the discussion of drug issues and by encouraging a unique dialogue across disciplines. The contributors are an interdisciplinary group of scholars mostly based at the University of Utah, and include a pharmacologist, a psychiatrist, a toxicologist, a trial court judge, a law professor, an attorney, a diatary specialist, a physician, a health expert on substance abuse, and Battin herself who is a philosopher. They consider questions like the historical development of current policy and the rationales for it; scientific views on how drugs actually cause harm; how to define the key notions of harm and addiction; and ways in which drug policy can be made more consistent. They conclude with an examination of the implications of a consistent policy for various disciplines and society generally.

    The book is written accessibly with little need for expert knowledge, and will appeal to a diverse audience of philosophers, bioethicists, clinicians, policy makers, law enforcement, legal scholars and practitioners, social workers, and general readers, as well as to students in areas like pharmacy, medicine, law, nursing, sociology, social work, psychology, and bioethics.

  • Remembering the Holocaust explains why the Holocaust has come to be considered the central event of the 20th century, and what this means. Presenting Jeffrey Alexander's controversial essay that, in the words of Geoffrey Hartman, has already become a classic in the Holocaust literature, and following up with challenging and equally provocative responses to it, this book offers a sweeping historical reconstruction of the Jewish mass murder as it evolved in the popular imagination of Western peoples, as well as an examination of its consequences.
    Alexander's inquiry points to a broad cultural transition that took place in Western societies after World War II: from confidence in moving past the most terrible of Nazi wartime atrocities to pessimism about the possibility for overcoming violence, ethnic conflict, and war. The Holocaust has become the central tragedy of modern times, an event which can no longer be overcome, but one that offers possibilities to extend its moral lessons beyond Jews to victims of other types of secular and religious strife. Following Alexander's controversial thesis is a series of responses by distinguished scholars in the humanities and social sciences--Martin Jay, Bernhard Giesen, Michael Rothberg, Robert Manne, Nathan Glazer, and Elihu & Ruth Katz--considering the implications of the universal moral relevance of the Holocaust. A final response from Alexander in a postscript focusing on the repercussions of the Holocaust in Israel concludes this forthright and engaging discussion.
    Remembering the Holocaust is an all-too-rare debate on our conception of the Holocaust, how it has evolved over the years, and the profound effects it will have on the way we envision the future.

  • In Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction, Joseph Dan, one of the world's leading authorities on Jewish mysticism, offers a concise and highly accurate look at the history and character of the various systems developed by the adherents of the Kabbalah.
    Dan sheds light on the many misconceptions about what Kabbalah is and isn't--including its connections to magic, astronomy, alchemy, and numerology--and he illuminates the relationship between Kaballah and Christianity on the one hand and New Age religion on the other. The book provides fascinating historical background, ranging from the mystical groups that flourished in ancient Judaism in the East, and the medieval schools of Kabbalah in Northern Spain and Southern France, to the widening growth of Kabbalah through the school of Isaac Luria of Safed in the sixteenth century, to the most potent and influential modern Jewish religious movement, Hasidism, and its use of kabbalistic language in its preaching. The book examines the key ancient texts of this tradition, including the Sefer Yezira or "Book of Creation," The Book of Bahir, and the Zohar. Dan explains Midrash, the classical Jewish exegesis of scriptures, which assumes an infinity of meanings for every biblical verse, and he concludes with a brief survey of scholarship in the field and a list of books for further reading.
    Embraced by celebrities and integrated in many contemporary spiritual phenomena, Kabbalah has reaped a wealth of attention in the press. But many critics argue that the form of Kabbalah practiced in Hollywood is more New Age pabulum than authentic tradition. Can there be a positive role for the Kabbalah in the contemporary quest for spirituality?
    In Kabbalah, Joseph Dan debunks the myths surrounding modern Kabbalistic practice, offering an engaging and dependable account of this traditional Jewish religious phenomenon and its impact outside of Judaism.

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