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Between XX and XY: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes Hardcover – July 1, 2009
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Combining passion with current scientific information, Callahan, an immunologist/pathologist at Colorado State University, explains why our conception of two sexes is more a social than a biological construct. He argues that there are no simple, foolproof ways to determine sex. For example chromosomal structure, XX for females and XY for males, is not fully predictive because of various genetic disorders that can play a larger role. Similarly, genitalia can be quite varied and represent a continuum of difference rather than two discrete points. Callahan does a good job of exploring intersex individuals, who are neither male nor female, and argues that they need to be accepted for what they are and not viewed as defective. Further, he provides provocative evidence that surgical gender reconstruction is often unsuccessful. Although Callahan attempts to make the case that some non-Western societies have a less bipolar view of gender, his abbreviated presentation is not very convincing. He is, however, persuasive that better understanding of and respect for sex and gender variability would be far healthier for the 65,000-plus intersex people born each year and society in general. (July)
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"Callahan does a good job of exploring intersex individuals, who are neither male nor female, and argues that they need to be accepted for what they are and not viewed as defective." —Publishers Weekly
"Immunologist Callahan takes a fascinating look at the biology and human experience of intersexuality, a state in between male and female." —Discover Magazine
"Callahan's writing style is both accessible and engaging; it reads more like creative non-fiction, a la Malcolm Gladwell." —Ms. Magazine
"This is a fascinating, easily understandable journey into why we are born male or female and examines our age-old obsession with sex." —Fort Collins Coloradoan
"There are lots of interesting nuggets here—for example, Callahan's description of biological sex as a spectrum, not a binary system." —Double X
"The book is really beautifully written, highly accessible, and visionary in its own right." —Feministing
"This book takes readers through an alphabet of gender and gender variations. Callahan shows readers that rather than either/or scenarios, there have always been variations; his book shatters our society's take on pink and blue." —Advocate.com
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I recommend this book, even though I thought it could have been better written. The information is substantial and crucial to our understanding of gender.
This is a good book if you want a primer on the subject of intersexuality, either for yourself or as a gift.