Half the Sky is either one of the most important books I have ever reviewed, or it is reportage about a will-o'-the-wisp movement destined to end up in the footnotes of history ... This book isn't a sermon, and neither is this review. These Pulitzer Prize-winning authors see the treatment of women in developing countries as the great story of this century, a moral issue, sure, but also as an economic one ...authors handle this grim material by telling us just a handful of horrible stories at a time, based on their own extensive interviews ... These stories are electrifying and have the effect of breaking down this enormous problem into segments the reader can focus on. Suddenly, these horrendous problems begin to seem solvable ...a call to arms, a call for help, a call for contributions, but also a call for volunteers.
In their urgent new book, the husband and wife team of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn argue passionately that the oppression of women and girls worldwide is 'one of the paramount human rights problems of this century' ... Serious abuses include female genital mutilation, honor killings, sexual slavery, and mass rape, but this book is far more than a catalog of horrors. The authors include numerous steps that can be taken to reduce the awful suffering ... authors are careful not to blame men alone. Oppression of women often is deeply embedded in local cultures, and is accepted by men and women alike ...excels as a compelling mix of history, culture, politics, and religious practice... a grab-the-reader-by-the-lapels wake-up call.
...Half the Sky introduces us to some of the most courageous and inspiring girls and women on the planet ... the journalists deftly weave relevant stats and political context throughout ... Women need protective laws, of course, and the right to hold property and bank accounts, but the authors write, 'Westerners invest too much effort in changing unjust laws and not enough in changing culture, by building schools or assisting grassroots movements' ...book is written mostly in the affable voice of Kristof... Intellectual credentials and a down-to-earth tone let them cross politically incorrect boundaries ... will ignite a grass-roots revolution like the one that eliminated slavery.