"A penetrating landmark study that raises disturbing questions and yet offers a real message of hope for a more peaceful future." -- LLOYD DEMAUSE, PH.D., author, Director of the Institute for Psychohistory
"A revealing explanation of the misunderstanding in the medical community about this practice." -- LEONARD MARINO, M.D., pediatrician
"Essential reading for men who seek to explore their sexuality and deepen self-awareness." -- John Lee, author of The Flying Boy, founder of the Austin Men's Center
"Goldman casts a wide, fine mesh net and hauls in all the fishy arguments and speculations that disqualify circumcision as a health care procedure." -- JOHN MONEY, PH.D., Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and Medical Psychology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
"Goldman's book, though long-overdue, is timely." -- PENELOPE LEACH, PH.D., child development educator, author of Your Baby & Child
"I always knew that circumcision was a procedure with roots at a level much deeper than that of a mere 'medical' procedure. Finally, Ronald Goldman has written a courageous book that makes the strongest possible case for abandoning circumcision once and for all-for the health of all of us, men and women alike." -- CHRISTIANE NORTHRUP, M.D., obstetrician, author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom
"I am very impressed with the depth of Goldman's research and his willingness to deal so thoroughly with the most important question of the possible effect of circumcision on boys." -- WARREN FARRELL, PH.D., author of Why Men Are the Way They Are
"I hope Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma will be read by men and women because it will force us to confront the unrecognized personal and social harm that results from this practice." -- SAM KEEN, PH.D., author of Fire in the Belly
"Impressive and moving." -- SHEILA KITZINGER, social anthropologist and childbirth educator, author of The Complete Book of Pregnancy and Childbirth
"This provocative analysis of circumcision's potential impact on men and gender relations merits serious attention." -- PATRICIA YANCEY MARTIN, PH.D., Professor of Sociology, Florida State University
From the Publisher
As an anthropologist, I have been interested for many years in the rituals, practices, and myths adopted by different societies. One of the most enduring of these practices is circumcision, which has been practiced by various cultures for thousands of years. It is typically a rite of passage marking a transition from one status to another. Such rites of passage, celebrated at birth, puberty, mar-riage, and death, are frequently associated with certain procedures entailing bodily mutilation. This removal of a part of the body, however, is not regarded in most societies as a mutilation. More often than not, it is seen as a religious consecration that makes the individual holy and invested with a special status.
In the United States we have invented "reasons" to replace religion in justifying circumcision. Myths associated with circumcision have become an accepted part of our society. Thus far the power of precedent and social custom has resisted the force of knowledge, reason, and logic.
The perpetuation of myths about circumcision in this country is not unlike the persistence of myths in other, divergent societies. Those in so-called civilized societies may believe that they are too "advanced" to believe in myths, but that, too, is a cultural myth. We are all subject to believing in myths. At this juncture in our history we should remember that civilization is not a gift, but an achievement, and that civilization is a race between education and catastrophe.
One outstanding characteristic that marks us as human beings is our educability. We have had to learn almost everything we know and do from other human beings, beginning with our prin-cipal caregivers, our parents, and then our teachers and others. Consequently, to be human is to be in danger, for we are capable of being taught unsound things as well as sound ones. Therefore, we need good teachers who will challenge entrenched beliefs and practices by setting out the facts that need to be considered in arriving at a just decision.
This is why I welcome, as I am sure the reader will, Ronald Goldman's beautiful and powerful book on circumcision. It is the most enlightening and dependable examination of a most important aspect of human life. It is a book that is designed to be helpful to both the curious and the perplexed. In this Ronald Goldman succeeds admirably, for he writes clearly and simply from a wide background of knowledge, and is a sympathetic guide through the labyrinth of controversy to the truths that he so ably makes avail-able. It is an illuminating book, and I hope it will be widely read.
Ashley Montagu, Ph.D.