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The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World Paperback – Bargain Price, March 30, 2010

21 customer reviews

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About the Author

Michelle Goldberg is an investigative journalist and the author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, a New York Times Bestseller which was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. A former senior writer at Salon.com, her work has appeared in Glamour, The New Republic, Rolling Stone, The Guardian (UK) and many other publications, and she has taught at NYU's graduate school of journalism. The Means of Reproduction won the 2008 J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143116886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143116882
  • ASIN: B0043RT9DU
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,984,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Zoe Ann Nicholson on April 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first read about this book at RHRealityCHeck.org in an interview of Michelle Goldberg by Mandy Van Deven. I ordered it immediately and had to wait for it to arrive on April 4. This book is landing in our march toward reproductive intelligence, liberty and health at precisely the right moment. While social justice is unfolding; the backlash is mounting, gasping its last breaths, this book is rich with vision and understanding.
American women need to understand the reach of their influence, their dollars and their personal religion. There are places in the world where pregnancy and childbirth can be punishment, torture and deadly, US policies are contributing through policies and funding certain programs, unfunding others, gag orders and relinquishing responsibility to religious organizations.
Michelle explains all of this and more, making it clear how decisions in Washington DC or a neighborhood clinic end up practiced in Africa or India with no understanding of the cultural consequences.

The Means of Reproduction is brilliant, responsible and approachable. I highly recommend it. Finally a book that makes it clear that American women, with all our freedom, need to commit to provide women world-wide with comprehensive birth control information and methods.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Sophia Linson on June 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book! The book is obviously meticulously researched and there is a lot of factual information, but it is never boring. It is very well written - the author addresses broad, complex issues and provides insightful analysis, but also brings in personal stories and descriptions of characters.
If you are interested in human rights, economic development, international politics or women's issues you will get a lot out of it.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lorinda Sheppard on October 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this powerful book, Goldberg deftly weaves the accounts of individual women against the backdrop of nations, cultures, international law, and US policy as she illustrates the impact of women's rights in general, and reproductive rights in particular, on not only the women themselves, but on our global society. She argues convincingly that providing all women with reproductive freedom--including access to reliable birth control, safe abortion, and educational opportunities that enhance their economic potential and their ability to self-advocate--can be a powerful means for lifting both women and their families out of poverty. This book made me alternately angry and hopeful by outlining the successes and failures of numerous countries, including the United States, in ensuring that women's potential is achieved. Goldberg shows us what has worked, what has failed, what the threats are to continued progress, what the potential outcomes are if those threats are allowed to prevail, and what rewards we can anticipate if all countries would move forward in recognizing the valuable contributions and the basic human rights of women.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Frances Kissling on April 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Just read Nick Kristoff's op-ed column in the Sunday Times on the need for more funding for international family planning assistance. The Means of Reproduction is critical to a modern understanding of why something as simple and noncontroversial as family planning has been stalled for the last decade by the US religious right and the Vatican. Solid data, great stories and good analysis.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Samantha on March 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Although I, like many other readers, I imagine, picked up this book expecting to hear a good argument in favor of reproductive rights, it is much, much, much more than that. This is not a book about abortion, although it includes abortion as a crucial topic. But rather, this is a book with a simple but somewhat revolutionary premise: that the solution to our most pressing concerns, both individual and societal, is the liberation of women around the world.

Michelle Goldberg makes her case very well- the book is fastidiously annotated and full of relevant statistics, well-researched history, and she strikes the perfect balance between listing the data, extrapolating its meaning, and illustrating it on the personal level with the stories of real-life men and women. Her writing is highly readable; while clearly academically rigorous, it is never too dry, too academic, bogged down in statistics or boring, nor is it overly familiar or reductionist. Or, in plainer words- I loved reading every minute of it, and there were plenty of late nights, reluctant to go to bed before I'd finished out a chapter.

Goldberg also does a tremendous job of addressing criticism- she discusses the overt colonialist nature of population control both in its infancy and in some cases, even today, she reports well on the callousness with which individual women were treated by organizations whose only goal was reducing the number of births. She carefully discusses the debacle of Rosita, wherein the very women seeking to help the young girl and her mother escape and terminate the pregnancy may have inadvertently or even knowingly and complicitly covered up her stepfathers' abuse and involvement.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ganddw42 on November 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'The mean's of Reproduction' by Michelle Goldberg is a book I debated a long time about even buying. I am passionate about women's reproductive health issues and usually I leave books like this on the shelf where I found them. I always wind up furious because of the ignorance of religious radicals passing themselves off as intelligent. The dismissive attitude of those who want to control we women's bodies due to their religious beliefs. I was raised in an era where abortion and in too many cases birth control was illegal. If you got pregnant out of wedlock you were just stuck. You either married the guy, hoped your parents didn't kick you out or went to a home for unwed mothers. If you were a woman with complications during pregnancy...you died...especially if you were in a Catholic Hospital. There were no options available. I have no desire to return to that era.
I am often amazed at how religion does not view we women as individuals just as extensions of men, especially the Pope. If I hadn't left the Catholic Church a decade ago over this issue, I would be making my way out the front door with this. We women aren't even deserving of personhood. About all we are is a womb to be controlled. How they have the nerve to even call themselves pro life, when in too many cases they are anything but, is insulting to our intelligence? The misery and human suffering they peddle is infuriating. How they shamelessly insist upon pushing Christian dogma on people who are non-Christian is truly revolting. I am also amazed at the people who imagine we can go on over populating without some day paying an enormous price for our follies. It should be obvious to even the most unobservant we are overpopulating this planet.
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