PositiveNew York Journal of BooksIn the chapters on cholera and on her work on anthrax Colwell manages with her enthusiasm and vivid prose to share her elation and triumphs even with a non-scientist, though as she notes very often mere scientific success was never a guarantee of recognition, or a smooth upward progression up the career ladder comparable to that of male scientists similarly qualified .. While these closing chapters are not as polished as those preceding them they include some useful observations relative, for example, to anti-discrimination legislation being the bare minimum requirement for change; and to the need for scientists to stop being “unidimensional personalities” and to embrace the humanities as she has done, as well as learning about and working in administration, business, and politics. The era of the pure nerd seems happily to be over, at least in Colwell’s own lab.
Susan J. Douglas
MixedThe New York Journal of Books... readable and persuasive, though the earlier glamorous chapters on aspirational ageing read as a bit too aspirational in fact, unwittingly casting some shade over Douglas’ later economic analysis, and recommendations for lifespan feminism, despite her attempts to redress this effect. It would have been interesting also to have more reflection as to what she expects of men, of all ages. The scenario Douglas paints is still one where women are doing all the equality heavy lifting ... As not all women are feminists, progress toward gender equality requires, statistically and otherwise, that not all feminists are women.
PositiveThe New York Journal of BooksThe book is organized into fragmentary but readable short chapters...All are crisply written and often amusing though some chapters seem to be conventional reviews and interviews, repurposed into looser Power Notebook mode. This is understandable but undermines the message that these are \'informal musings and notes.\' The men in Roiphe’s life are given some minor walk-on parts ... This is a book to divide opinion. Readers who are devoted to Roiphe as \'a cultural lightening rod\' may find these revelations revelatory. Non-fans may find the whole project a bit self-important, though most could probably agree that this is a nicely produced, well-written, short memoir for the bedside table to be dipped into before sleep.
MixedThe New York Journal of BooksA new publication by Jung Chang is always an event, though those who have read and admired her previous books...will perhaps be disappointed by this chronicle of the Soong sisters ... This is not a straightforward feminist fable by any means and Jung Chang’s attitude toward the sisters, and her coverage of them often seems ambivalent ... As is to be expected, Jung Chang shows her usual expert grasp of the ebb and flow of historical events across several countries and continents, though it would be helpful for readers less conversant with these facts to have included a timeline of key historical events, and a cast of main characters ... In the early chapters the sisters move in and out of the action in a sometimes confusing manner, and it is not until later in the book where the spotlight is placed on individual sisters in turn, that it is possible to gain some more solid understanding of their characters and relationships ... The author’s apparent ambivalence about her subject matter makes for an often-bumpy ride, though, in fairness, she is perhaps just trying to give a rounded picture of the complex character and position of the sisters ... Many passages read like the author’s jotting down a few thoughts to be expanded upon later by a team of researchers, and groomed by an editor, but not to be released as is. The reader should be prepared for an extraordinary though long and very uneven ride.
MixedNew York Journal of BooksIn this very readable and well-researched book Jennifer Block provides a wealth of insights and information as to how women are mistreated \'below the waist\' by the American medical profession ... This is a very big agenda and, perhaps not surprisingly, not totally realized. Block is much more successful in presenting information on medical mistreatment than she is in demonstrating why mistreatment persists in terms of the power dynamics between doctors and patients, doctors and midwives and doulas, doctors and pharmaceutical companies, doctors and media, doctors and women’s organizations, and feminists of various persuasions. Perhaps this is largely a matter of structuring and focussing the material she has gathered, as there are many intriguing observations and asides on the reasons behind mainstream feminism’s interest, or lack thereof, in women’s health care.
MixedThe New York Journal of Books... does add both breadth and depth to previous discussions and provides a little more ballast to the argument that nature and nurture are not so easily divisible but in dynamic interaction ... This reflection on the historical relativity of stereotypes could have helped to nourish her reflections on the ways to disrupt the \'brain-social context\' stereotype loop in the closing chapters, which seem rather perfunctory and even to row back from the earlier more nuanced discussions, stating as she does that \'culture-based problems need to be solved by fixing the culture;\' and \'maybe social and cultural factors have a much greater role to play in what looks like biologically fixed differences.\' This reads as if she has not quite convinced herself of the very convincing picture of interdependence she has presented. It is also surprising that she skates over the work of other scientists, which would have supported her case such as that dismissing the great stereotype XX and XY as no longer being the truth ... In the end, Rippon, as her predecessor Fine, balks at the \'cultural\' hurdle. Perhaps they could both enrich their next publications by finding themselves a social scientist to partner with?
RaveNew York Journal of BooksBy the discovery of new material relating especially to the existence of L.E.L’s children, Miller has been able to piece together very coherently the celebrity, notoriety, fame, and shame of the writer’s story. While the main focus is on the vibrant and vicious atmosphere of the male-dominated and misogynistic London literary scene, Miller also presents without indulging in pop psychology some fascinating glimpses of the family atmosphere ... This memorable and fascinating book is far from being just another example of the increasingly common attempts to excavate a female genius stifled by her male partner. Seen against the complex backdrop of her family circumstances, the machinations of literary London, and changing social mores that made a \'female Byron\' no longer socially acceptable, L.E.L., in death as in life, continues to intrigue and bewilder.
MixedNew York Journal of Books\"Proust’s Duchess chronicles in exemplary detail the wiles and wardrobes of three doyennes of Parisian high society ... Weber’s research into the three protagonists and their milieu is exhaustive, and the progressive accumulation of very fine detail needs to be ingested slowly ... A rigorous edit could also have removed some of the clichés... It is unfortunate that a book about stylishness should be so badly let down by the language. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating read for anyone interested in fin-de –siècle Parisian society, though one could have wished for a bit more Proust and a little less Duchess.