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Conversations with Benoit Chantre
In Battling to the End René Girard engages Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831), the Prussian military theoretician who wrote On War. Clausewitz, who has been critiqued by military strategists, political scientists, and philosophers, famously postulated that "War is the continuation of politics by other means." He also seemed to believe that governments could constrain war.
Clausewitz, a firsthand witness to the Napoleonic Wars, understood the nature of modern warfare. Far from controlling violence, politics follows in war's wake: the means of war have become its ends.
René Girard shows us a Clausewitz who is a fascinated witness of history's acceleration. Haunted by the French-German conflict, Clausewitz clarifies more than anyone else the development that would ravage Europe. Battling to the End pushes aside the taboo that prevents us from seeing that the apocalypse has begun. Human violence is escaping our control; today it threatens the entire planet.
Living with Ovarian Cancer
Bearing Witness is a collection of stories from women who went through the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, and treatment for it, only to find that the cancer recurred and any hope of recovery was gone. These women represent a spectrum of ages, ethnic backgrounds, marital circumstances, and professional experiences. From their stories we learn how each woman shapes the meaning of her life. Facing a life crisis can make one bitter and angry, but it can also provide the key to a thankful and generous spirit within.
Storytelling is an important art form present in many cultures: it is a way of processing life events, of searching for meaning, and of allowing teller and listener to wrestle with the message. It is a form of teaching and learning. For the women in Bearing Witness, stories are tangible legacies for family and friends and a chance to share their thoughts on living with the “glass half full.” They inspire the reader to reflect on life’s struggles and to find within themselves a sense of optimism, perhaps when they least expect to.
Kathryn Carter’s concluding essay places these stories in the context of contemporary discourses of illness and healing.
Animals, Humans, and Disease
Humans have lived in close proximity to other animals for thousands of years. Recent scientific studies have even shown that the presence of animals has a positive effect on our physical and mental health. People with pets typically have lower blood pressure, show fewer symptoms of depression, and tend to get more exercise.
But there is a darker side to the relationship between animals and humans. Animals are carriers of harmful infectious agents and the source of a myriad of human diseases. In recent years, the emergence of high-profile illnesses such as AIDS, SARS, West Nile virus, and bird flu has drawn much public attention, but as E. Fuller Torrey and Robert H. Yolken reveal, the transfer of deadly microbes from animals to humans is neither a new nor an easily avoided problem.
Beginning with the domestication of farm animals nearly 10,000 years ago, Beasts of the Earth traces the ways that human-animal contact has evolved over time. Today, shared living quarters, overlapping ecosystems, and experimental surgical practices where organs or tissues are transplanted from non-humans into humans continue to open new avenues for the transmission of infectious agents. Other changes in human behavior like increased air travel, automated food processing, and threats of bioterrorism are increasing the contagion factor by transporting microbes further distances and to larger populations in virtually no time at all.
While the authors urge that a better understanding of past diseases may help us lessen the severity of some illnesses, they also warn that, given our increasingly crowded planet, it is not a question of if but when and how often animal-transmitted diseases will pose serious challenges to human health in the future.
Risk, Resilience, and Latino Youth
Although the United States has always been a nation of immigrants, the recent demographic shifts resulting in burgeoning young Latino and Asian populations have literally changed the face of the nation. This wave of massive immigration has led to a nationwide struggle with the need to become bicultural, a difficult and sometimes painful process of navigating between ethnic cultures.
While some Latino adolescents become alienated and turn to antisocial behavior and substance use, others go on to excel in school, have successful careers, and build healthy families. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data ranging from surveys to extensive interviews with immigrant families, Becoming Bicultural explores the individual psychology, family dynamics, and societal messages behind bicultural development and sheds light on the factors that lead to positive or negative consequences for immigrant youth. Paul R. Smokowski and Martica Bacallao illuminate how immigrant families, and American communities in general, become bicultural and use their bicultural skills to succeed in their new surroundings The volume concludes by offering a model for intervention with immigrant teens and their families which enhances their bicultural skills.
Becoming Visible brings together scholarly discussions of visibility and illness, photographs of an experience in treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma, and personal testimonial about that time. An artistic and academic contribution to the fields of trauma studies, disability studies and autopathography, this cancer journey reveals how the forces of art and narrative can contribute to social dynamics for change.
Behind Every Choice Is a Story is a poignant blend of personal stories, commentary, and memoir that chronicles the life-changing reproductive choices that women, men, and teens make every day. The book also traces Gloria Feldt's personal journey from the dusty oil fields of West Texas to becoming a Head Start teacher and activist in the civil rights and women's movement, culminating in her current standing as one of the most influential voices in the reproductive freedom movement. The book was inspired by the 1928 Motherhood in Bondage , a collection of letters written by women to Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. Publishing these letters from women in desperate circumstances helped to equate the concept of birth control with higher values of wanted children, healthy mothers, loving couples, self realization, and female emancipation. Behind Every Choice Is a Story addresses many of those same issues and values and advances a new agenda for the twenty-first century. Behind Every Choice Is a Story sounds a clarion call by highlighting the importance of storytelling as a cultural force in encouraging change. Feldt recognizes and values women's stories for their personal, social, and political importance. The book uniquely positions current issues of reproductive freedom in the context of everyday experiences and provides a refreshing new framework to understand the current political and social landscape. Although the primary audience for this book is women who support reproductive freedom, a wide audience including men and teens will find their experiences among the compelling stories. It will also appeal to those who are intrigued by the unique perspective the book gives to the real-life impact of reproductive choices. "Behind Every Choice Is a Story will change how America talks about reproductive rights. Gloria's book inspires us to heed the clarion call, tell out stories, and raise our voices together."--Kathleen Turner
Psychopathy and Moral Incapacity
Mental Health Policy in the United States since 1950
The past half-century has been marked by major changes in the treatment of mental illness: important advances in understanding mental illnesses, increases in spending on mental health care and support of people with mental illnesses, and the availability of new medications that are easier for the patient to tolerate. Although these changes have made things better for those who have mental illness, they are not quite enough. In Better But Not Well, Richard G. Frank and Sherry A. Glied examine the well-being of people with mental illness in the United States over the past fifty years, addressing issues such as economics, treatment, standards of living, rights, and stigma. Marshaling a range of new empirical evidence, they first argue that people with mental illness—severe and persistent disorders as well as less serious mental health conditions—are faring better today than in the past. Improvements have come about for unheralded and unexpected reasons. Rather than being a result of more effective mental health treatments, progress has come from the growth of private health insurance and of mainstream social programs—such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, housing vouchers, and food stamps—and the development of new treatments that are easier for patients to tolerate and for physicians to manage. The authors remind us that, despite the progress that has been made, this disadvantaged group remains worse off than most others in society. The "mainstreaming" of persons with mental illness has left a policy void, where governmental institutions responsible for meeting the needs of mental health patients lack resources and programmatic authority. To fill this void, Frank and Glied suggest that institutional resources be applied systematically and routinely to examine and address how federal and state programs affect the well-being of people with mental illness.