Required reading for anyone concerned about reproductive justice.

THE TURNAWAY STUDY

TEN YEARS, A THOUSAND WOMEN, AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF HAVING—OF BEING DENIED—AN ABORTION

A compelling examination of “the state of abortion access in our country and the people whose lives are affected by it.”

Foster, a professor and researcher in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, synthesizes the findings of The Turnaway Study, a 10-year longitudinal project, involving 40 researchers, comparing the emotional, physical, and economic effects to women of having an abortion or being denied one due to a clinic’s deadline for when an abortion could be performed—a cutoff date that varied depending on the location of the clinic. The study excluded women seeking abortions because of fetal anomaly or severe health risk, which affect the timing of the decision. With much hearsay, unfounded assumptions, and strident rhetoric fueling public policy, the UCSF researchers aimed to provide scientific evidence about abortion “in the context of real women’s lives.” Beginning in 2007, the study included more than 1,000 women from diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds, recruited from 30 facilities in 21 states. From in-depth interviews conducted every six months, Foster has selected 10 women whose stories are related in their own words: white, Latina, and African American; rural and urban; some with strong family support, some facing their decision alone; women enmeshed in abusive relationships; some already mothers and some who went on to have children later; all with hopes for the future. Their candid stories are riveting, sometimes surprising, and always illuminating—as are the study’s findings. There is “no evidence that abortion hurts women,” the study concludes. “For every outcome we analyzed, women who received an abortion were either the same or, more frequently, better off than women who were denied an abortion.” To those who assume women make the decision to abort rashly, the researchers found thoughtful deliberation.

Required reading for anyone concerned about reproductive justice.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982141-56-1

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

HUMANS

The creator of the hit internet series Humans of New York takes it global, chasing down a panoply of interesting stories.

In 1955, Edward Steichen staged a show called “The Family of Man,” a gathering of photographs that emphasized the commonality of humankind. Stanton’s project seemingly has much the same ambition. “You’ve created this magic little corner of the Web where people feel safe sharing their stories—without being ridiculed, or bullied, or judged,” he writes. “These stories are only honestly shared because they have a long history of being warmly received.” The ask is the hard part: approaching a total stranger and asking him or her to tell their stories. And what stories they are. A young Frenchwoman, tearful, recounts being able to see things from the spirit world that no one else can see. “And it’s been a very lonely existence since then,” she says. A sensible teenager in St. Petersburg, Russia, relates that her friends are trying to be grown-up, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, whereas she wants to remain a child close to her parents: “I’d like these times to last as long as possible.” A few stories are obnoxious, as with a Dutch incel who has converted himself into a pickup artist and outright cad: “Of course it’s manipulation, but why should I care? I’ve been manipulated so many times in my life.” A great many stories, some going for several pages but most taking up just a paragraph or two, are regretful, speaking to dashed dreams and roads not taken. A surprising number recount mental illness, depression, and addiction; “I’d give anything to have a tribe,” says a beleaguered mother in Barcelona. Some are hopeful, though, such as that of an Iranian woman: “I’ve fallen in love with literature. I try to read for one or two hours every day. I only have one life to live. But in books I can live one thousand lives.”

A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11429-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

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PERIL

An account of the last gasps of the Trump administration, completing a trilogy begun with Fear (2018) and Rage (2020).

One of Woodward and fellow Washington Post reporter Costa’s most memorable revelations comes right away: Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calling his counterpart in Beijing to assure him that even after Jan. 6 and what Milley saw as an unmistakable attempt at a coup d’état, he would keep Trump from picking a war with China. This depiction has earned much attention on the talking-heads news channels, but more significant is its follow-up: Milley did so because he was concerned that Trump “might still be looking for what Milley called a ‘Reichstag moment.’ ” Milley emerges as a stalwart protector of the Constitution who constantly courted Trump’s ire and yet somehow survived without being fired. No less concerned about Trump’s erratic behavior was Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who studied the psychiatric literature for a big takeaway: “Do not humiliate Trump in public. Humiliating a narcissist risked real danger, a frantic lashing out if he felt threatened or criticized.” Losing the 2020 election was one such humiliation, and Woodward and Costa closely track the trajectory of Trump’s reaction, from depression to howling rage to the stubborn belief that the election was rigged. There are a few other modest revelations in the book, including the fact that Trump loyalist William Barr warned him that the electorate didn’t like him. “They just think you’re a fucking asshole,” Barr told his boss. That was true enough, and the civil war that the authors recount among various offices in the White House and government reveals that Trump’s people were only ever tentatively his. All the same, the authors note, having drawn on scores of “deep background” interviews, Trump still has his base, still intends vengeance by way of a comeback, and still constitutes the peril of their title.

A solid work of investigation that, while treading well-covered ground, offers plenty of surprises.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982182-91-5

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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