{[ promptMessage ]}

Bookmark it

{[ promptMessage ]}

Potts,+2009+_Pop+Dev+Review_-1

Potts,+2009+_Pop+Dev+Review_-1 - BOOK REVIEWS MICHELLE...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW 35(3): 643–652 (SEPTEMBER 2009) 643 BOOK REVIEWS M ICHELLE G OLDBERG The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World New York: The Penguin Press, 2009. 259 p. $25.95. International support for family planning services in the developing world is a dif- ficult subject to get right. Ideally support should be motivated by a deep empathy for the suffering of women, especially those living on a dollar or two per day. But policies also must be framed by the impersonal constraints of numbers and what is achiev- able with the resources available. The first half of Michelle Goldberg’s The Means of Reproduction covers much the same ground as Matthew Connelly’s Fatal Misconception (Connelly 2008). Goldberg, like Connelly, chronicles the pioneer work of General Bill Draper Jr., John D. Rockefeller 3rd, and others to launch a global effort to make family planning services available, followed by the efforts of Joan Dunlop, Adrienne Germain, and others to shift the focus toward a more holistic approach to the needs of women. It is an important and dramatic story, played out against the cultural and political backdrop of conflict over making safe abortion widely available and the global confrontation between the Vatican and those promoting women’s rights. The second half of The Means of Reproduction covers the biased sex ratios arising in India and elsewhere, the obscenity of female genital mutilation in Africa, and below-re- placement birth rates in Europe. Goldberg’s book is a useful and insightful history of 50 years of passion and con- flict between those with overlapping goals but different perspectives on both the need to slow rapid population growth and the best way to do so. As a journalist, Goldberg is true to her profession in listening to both sides of any dispute and striving to let the protagonists tell their own stories in reasonably impartial ways. In this respect she presents an interesting contrast to Connelly, who, although he is a historian, is much more ideological and fails to let those with whom he disagrees make their own case. A good writer sometimes uncovers themes he or she did not expect—and in some cases may not even fully understand. Goldberg is a good writer who falls in this intriguing category. I think she makes an accurate diagnosis on the last page, writing, “The history of our species is, by and large, a history of male domination.” The book’s subtitle, Sex, Power, and the Future of the World , is clearly appropriate (Potts and Campbell 2008). But on the penultimate page Goldberg makes a startling statement on which she does not follow through. She quotes an observation by Sara Seims, now with the Hewlett Foundation, who finds contraception in some ways more difficult to access today in Africa than when she entered the family planning field in 1979. This is also my experience. In fact, by several objective measures, such as growing disparities in family size between the upper and lower economic quintiles, the level of unmet
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern