- Paperback: 174 pages
- Publisher: Crossing Press (May 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0895949393
- ISBN-13: 978-0895949394
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,730,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Circumcision Exposed: Rethinking a Medical and Cultural Tradition Paperback – May 1, 1998
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Excellent--the right mixture of personal, scientific, and political. -- Jed Diamond, author, The Warrior's Journey Home: Healing Men's Addictions, Healing the Planet
Thoroughly researched, compelling, expressed with fervor but in no way a diatribe. -- Ed Duvin, former editor, animalines
[D]isplays particular sensitivity to issues of religion, health, sexuality and parental and infant rights. -- Sexuality Library, San Francisco
About the Author
Billy Ray Boyd has been active for well over a decade in the movement to end routine infant circumcision. He teaches at City College of San Francisco.
Top customer reviews
popular book, originally titled "Circumcision: What It Does" and
now retitled "Circumcision Exposed." Crossing Press has given the
work an attractive presentation (the high quality drawings deserve
a special acknowledgement) and has apparently committed to working
to find the book a broader audience.
I wish the best to Boyd, a personal friend of mine, and to his
book. He has drawn together a broad range of inspiration and
information, ranging from personal spiritual contexts and New Age
insights to little known historical facts such as information on
Nineteenth Century Jewish opponents of circumcision. The
collection of information on legal awards in circumcision cases is
useful. And the list of parallels between circumcision and female
genital mutilation on page 43, which a footnote tells us is adapted
from a flyer created by the NOHARMM organization, is extremely well
conceived and presented. Boyd moves smoothly from subject to
subject, often sketching only the outlines of an issue so as to
allow readers to fill in the colors for themselves.
At the same time, the book's very strengths also contribute to some
of its most frustrating aspects. While I admire Boyd's creative
and eclectic mind, I also longed sometimes for a firmer organizing
principle for the work. I was also troubled by the tone of the
advice to the reader regarding taking personal responsibility as
well as the discussions of "intertribal criticism," e.g. non-Jews
discussing Jewish ritual circumcision. Both sections, while
intended to assist the reader in dealing sensitively with other
cultures and with his or her own beliefs and practices, ironically
struck me as themselves a bit patronizing. As I read them I asked
myself who the intended audience might be. They appear to address
someone open enough to be interested in many of the author's
concerns, and yet unaware enough of many of the central
considerations in such pursuits to need his advice. How many such
people are there, and how many of those are likely to be reading
At the cost of relatively little additional effort, Boyd could have
created a book which would be more useful to readers with a more
serious interest in the subject. For example, all cases listed in
the summary of legal decisions are drawn from one issue of the
NOCIRC Newsletter. Unless absolutely necessary, email and personal
correspondence ought not be used as a citation due to the
impossibility of verifying and locating the source; in several
cases where a footnote cited an email message or an unpublished
letter, documentable sources were apparently available.
And yet in the end, Boyd's book proves to be an enjoyable,
personalized, flawed yet unique contribution to the literature
about circumcision. It is a quick, easy, engaging read, and may
win the anti-circumcision movement new interest and new troops.
While Ronald Goldman's masterpiece "Circumcision: The Hidden
Trauma" is likely to remain the definitive introductory overview of
the subject for years or even decades, readers desiring a more
idiosyncratic view of the topic would do well to delve into Billy
Ray Boyd's short, entertaining work. '
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