Archive for the ‘Sociology’ Category

Laughing Gas, Viagra, and Lipitor: The Human Stories Behind the Drugs We Use

May 25, 2007

Book Description

The stories behind drug discovery are fascinating, full of human and scientific interest. This is a book on the history of drug discovery that highlights the intellectual splendor of discoverers as well as the human frailty associated them. History is replete with examples of breakthrough medicines that have saved millions of lives. To offer just a few examples: ether as an anesthetic by Morton; penicillin as an antibiotic by Fleming; and insulin as an anti-diabetic by Banting discovered the use of insulin for treating diabetes.

In this book on the history of drug discovery, author Jie Jack Li highlights both the intellectual splendor of the discoverers as well as their human frailty, and he shows us that the discoverers of these medicines are, beyond a doubt, great benefactors to mankind. For instance, it is probable that without penicillin, 75% of us would not be alive today.

Li is a medicinal chemist and is intimately involved with drug discovery. Through extensive research and interviews with the inventors of drugs, including those of Viagra and Lipitor, he has assembled an astounding number of facts and anecdotes as well as much useful information about important drugs we know and use in our lives today. Figures, diagrams, and illustrations highlight the text throughout.

Both specialists and laymen alike will find Laughing, Gas, Viagra, and Lipitor information and entertaining. Students in chemistry, pharmacy, and medicine, workers in healthcare, and high school science teachers will find this book most useful.

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The Jill Principle: A Woman’s Guide to Healing Your Spirit After Divorce or Breakup

May 1, 2007

From the book jacket:

If you’re contemplating a break-up, are in the midst of one, or eve if the relationship is technically “over,” reaching a place of peace and strength may seem a long way off, but you can use this time of upheaval and change to reconnect with your spirit and reclaim your true self. Michele Germain, a psychotherapist who specializes in divorce recovery, believes many long-term relationships fail due to unresolved “historical wounds” and unrealistic expectations. Emphasizing the body-mind-spirit connection, Germain offers an effective, holistic approach to healing.

The Jill Principle presents a step-by-step process that begins with recognizing the trauma of divorce, releasing emotional wounds from childhood, and eliminating negative self-talk. Guided medications, bioenergetic exercises, and other techniques help you identify and overcome buried pain and create lasting health and vitality in your body and soul. Moving personal accounts, including Germain’s own story, illustrate how the practices in this book have helped hundreds of women recover from crisis and find new opportunities for self expression and true happiness.

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When Illness Goes Public: Celebrity Patients and How We Look at Medicine

May 1, 2007

From the book jacket:

Steve McQueen had cancer and was keeping it secret. Then the media found out, and soon all of America knew. McQueen’s high profile changed forever the way the public perceived a dreaded disease.

In When Illness Goes Public, Barron H. Lerner describes the evolution of celebrities’ illnesses from private matters to stories of great public interest. Famous people who have become symbols of illness include Lou Gehrig, the first “celebrity patient”; Rita Hayworth, whose Alzheimer disease went undiagnosed for years; and Arthur Ashe, who courageously went public with his AIDS diagnosis before the media could reveal his secret. And then there are private citizens like Barney Clark, the first recipient of a permanent artificial heart, and Lorenzo Odone, whose neurological disorder became the subject of a Hollywood film.

While celebrity illnesses have helped to inform patients about treatment options, ethical controversies, and scientific proof, the stories surrounding these illnesses have also assumed mythical characteristics that may be misleading. Marrying great storytelling to an exploration of the intersection of science, journalism, fame, and legend, this book is a groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of health and illness.

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Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, & Power

April 25, 2007

From the book jacket:
Chicken–both the bird and the food–has played multiple roles in the lives of African American women from the slavery era to the present. It has provided food and a source of income for their families, shaped a distinctive culture, and helped women define and exert themselves in racist and hostile environments. Psyche A. Williams-Forson examines the complexity of black women’s legacies using food as a form of cultural work. While acknowledging the negative interpretations of black culture associated with chicken imagery, Williams-Forson focuses her analysis on the ways black women have forged their own self-definitions and relationships to the “gospel bird.”Exploring material ranging from personal interviews to the comedy of Chris Rock, from commercial advertisements to the art of Kara Walker, and from cookbooks to literature, Williams-Forson considers how black women arrive at degrees of self-definition and self-reliance using certain foods. She demonstrates how they defy conventional representations of blackness in relationship to these foods and exercise influence through food preparation and distribution.

Understanding these phenomena clarifies how present interpretations of blacks and chicken are rooted in a past that is fraught with both racism and agency. The traditions and practices of feminism, Williams-Forson argues, are inherent in the foods women prepare and serve.

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The Lost Children of Wilder: The Epic Struggle to Change Foster Care

April 13, 2007

From the book jacket:
In 1973 Marcia Lowry, a young civil liberties attorney, filed a controversial class-action suit that would come to be known as Wilder, which challenged New York City’s operation of its foster-care system. Lowry’s contention was that the system failed the children it was meant to help because it placed them according to creed and convenience, not according to need. The plaintiff was thirteen-year-old Shirley Wilder, an abused runaway whose childhood had been shaped by the system’s inequities. Within a year Shirley would give birth to a son and relinquish him to the same failing system.

Seventeen years later, with Wilder still controversial and still in court, Nina Bernstein tried to find out what had happened to Shirley and her baby. She was told by child-welfar  officials that Shirley had disappeared and that her son was one of thousands of anonymous children whose circumstances are concealed by the veil of confidentiality that hides foster care from public scrutiny. But Bernstein persevered.

The Lost Children of Wilder gives us, in galvanizing and compulsively readable detail, the full history of a case that reveals the racial, religious, and political fault lines in our child-welfare system, and lays bare the fundamental contradiction at the heart of our well-intended efforts to sever the destiny of needy children from the fate of their parents. Bernstein takes us behind the scenes of far-reaching legal and legislative battles, at the same time as she traces, in heartbreaking counterpoint, the consequences as they are played out in the life of Shirley’s son, Lamont. His terrifying journey through the system has produced a man with deep emotional wounds, a stifled yearning for family, and a son growing up in the system’s shadow.

In recounting the failure of the promise of benevolence, The Lost Children of Wilder makes clear how welfare reform can also damage its intended beneficiaries. A landmark achievement of investigative reporting and a tour de force of social observation, this book will haunt every reader who cares about the needs of children.

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American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood

April 11, 2007

From the book jacket:

In her father’s Peruvian family, MARIE ARANA was taught to be a proper lady, yet in her mother’s American family she learned to shoot a gun, break a horse, and snap a chicken’s neck for dinner. Arana shuttled easily between these deeply separate cultures for years. But only when she immigrated with her family to the United States did she come to understand that she was a hybrid American whose cultural identity was split in half. Coming to terms with this split is at the heart of this graceful, beautifully realized portrait of a child who was a north-south collision, a New World fusion. An American Chica.

Here are two vastly different landscapes: Peru earthquake-prone, charged with ghosts of history and mythology, and the sprawling prairie lands of Wyoming. In these rich terrains resides a colorful cast of family members who bring Arana’s history to life…her proud grandfather who one day simply stopped coming down the stairs; her dazzling grandmother, clicking through the house as if she were making her way onstage. But most important are Arana’s parents: he, a brilliant engineer, she a gifted musician. For more than half a century these two passionate, strong-willed people struggled to overcome the bicultural tensions in their marriage and, finally, to prevail.

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The Souls of Black Folk

April 9, 2007

Book Description
Published in 1903, W E. B. Du Bois’s revolutionary collection of essays changed our perception of the African American experience. The text of this Norton Critical Edition is that of the first hook edition, which has been annotated. “Contexts” reprints an intriguing collection of political and biographical documents related to The Souls of Black Folk, sure to stimulate classroom discussion. In addition, the editors have included the eighteen thought-provoking photographs that accompanied Du Bois’s 1901 article “The Negro As He Really Is.” “Criticism” includes wide-ranging contemporary and recent assessments of The Souls of Black Folk by William James, John Spencer Bassett, John Daniels, Dickson P. Bruce, Jr., Robert Gooding-Williams, David Levering Lewis, Nellie McKay, Susan Mizruchi, Arnold Rampersad, Eric Sundquist, and Shamoon Zamir. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

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Reflections of our Past: How Human History is Revealed in our Genes

April 9, 2007

Book Description
An accessible and absorbing examination of how the genes of living people reveal the history of humankind, from the origins of humans 6 million years ago to the present. Where did modern humans come from and how important are the biological differences among us? Are we descended from Neanderthals? How many races of people are there? Were Native Americans the first settlers of the New World? How can we tell if Thomas Jefferson had a child with Sally Hemings? Can we see even in the Irish of today evidence of Viking rampages of a millennium ago? Through engaging examination of issues such as these, and using non-technical language, Reflections of Our Past shows how anthropologists use genetic information of many kinds to test theories and define possible answers to fundamental questions in human history. By looking at genetic variation in the world today, we can reconstruct the recent and remote events and processes that have created the variation we see, providing a fascinating reflection of our genetic past.

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Sexual Orientation & Gender Expression in Social Work Practice: Working with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender People

April 9, 2007

Book Description

Broad yet in-depth, this volume offers an invaluable resource for both social work educators and practitioners working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender clients and their families. It is the first such work to specifically address issues affecting bisexual and transgender individuals. Topics discussed include heterosexism and homophobia, GLBT identity development, GLBT adolescents and older adults, healthcare concerns, workplace issues, sex reassignment, and AIDS. The contributors also consider intragroup issues of race, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic status.

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Facing the Mirror: Older Women and Beauty Shop Culture

April 3, 2007

Book Description

This innovative, ethnographic study of a neighborhood beauty salon investigates how customers constitute a lively, affirming community of peers during their weekly visits. Beauty Shop Culture gives voice to older women, who, in a sexist and ageist society, are frequently devalued and rendered invisible. These older, mostly Jewish women articulate their experiences of bodily self-presentation, femininity, aging and caring pertaining to their lives within and outside Julie’s International Salon. This books explores the socio-moral significance of these experiences which reveals as much about society as about older women themselves. Women’s narratives expose structures of power, inequality, and resistance in the ways women perceive reality, make choices and live in their worlds.

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