Books Reviewed by humanistfreedoms.com.
Books in 2020
Friendship: The Evolution, Biology and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond – Lydia Denworth
Lydia Denworth is a Brooklyn-based science journalist whose work is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. A contributing writer for Scientific American and Psychology Today, she has also written for the Atlantic and the New York Times.
Friendship: The Evolution, Biology and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond was published by WW Norton & Company in 2020. Just under 300 pages in the hardcover, it fits snugly in the contemporary genre of popular science journalism. Denworth’s tone, like the book itself, is neither too-heavy nor too light.
Unveiled – Yasmine Mohammed
Canadian human rights activist, Yasmine Mohammed, advocates for the rights of women living within Islamic majority countries, as well as those who struggle under religious fundamentalism.
Her book, Unveiled, is a memoir/polemic that recalls her experiences growing up in a fundamentalist Islamic household and her arranged marriage to a member of Al-Qaeda. In it, she sheds light on the religious trauma that so many women still today are unable to discuss.
To learn more about Free Hearts Free Minds visit www.freeheartsfreeminds.com.
So You Think You Can Think – Christopher DiCarlo
Di Carlo is the author of How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass and Six Steps to Better Thinking: How to Disagree and Get Along and a philosophy professor at the University of Toronto. In his newest book, DiCarlo breaks down the steps of critical thinking and the process of making a persuasive argument in this useful guide. To dissect core principles of argumentation, DiCarlo works through topics such as bias (biological, cultural, and ethnic), types of reasoning (deductive, inductive, and abductive), fallacies (red herrings and ad hoc), and how to address disagreement. DiCarlo hopes that as “people use the critical thinking skills fairly, they will be more empowered to have meaningful discussions about important issues, disagree entirely, and still be able to get along.” To make his points, he uses examples that are current, such as how President Trump exhibits philosopher “Harry Frankfurt’s distinction between lying and bullshit”; novel, as with arguments surrounding the existence of Bigfoot; and revolutionary, such as 19th-century Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis’s arguments against customary medical practices that led to modern antiseptic procedures. Those looking to critically engage with information or “value discourse over hatred” will learn a lot from DiCarlo’s thorough study. (June)
Publishers Weekly: Christopher W. DiCarlo. Rowman & Littlefield, $32 (240p) ISBN 978-1-5381-3855-7
The Abortion Caravan – Karin Wells
In the spring of 1970, seventeen women set out from Vancouver in a big yellow convertible, a Volkswagen bus, and a pickup truck. They called it the Abortion Caravan. Three thousand miles later, they “occupied” the prime minister’s front lawn in Ottawa, led a rally of 500 women on Parliament Hill, chained themselves to their chairs in the visitors’ galleries, and shut down the House of Commons, the first and only time this had ever happened. The seventeen were a motley crew. They argued, they were loud, and they wouldn’t take no for an answer. They pulled off a national campaign in an era when there was no social media, and with a budget that didn’t stretch to long-distance phone calls. It changed their lives. And at a time when thousands of women in Canada were dying from back street abortions, it pulled women together across the country.
Karin Wells is best known as a CBC radio documentary maker and is a three time recipient of the Canadian Association of Journalists documentary award. Her work has been heard on radio networks around the world and has been recognized by the United Nations. She is also a lawyer and in 2011 was inducted into the University of Ottawa’s Common Law Honour Society. She lives in Southern Ontario.
Second Story Press: $24.95
Books in 2019
There Is No Difference – Peter Best
Peter Best is “a lawyer who has practiced law in Sudbury, Ontario for 43 years. Raised in nearby Espanola, favored with lifelong personal and professional relationships with indigenous Canadians, he brings a personal, literary and historical perspective to the greatest social crisis experienced by Canada today- the perilous state of its original peoples.”
What is the book? The long-form version of the title probably acts as the best summary of its contents: There Is No Difference: An Argument for the Abolition of the Indian Reserve System and Special Race-based Laws and Entitlements for Canada’s Indians. In a regular book review, we might investigate the overt arguments and contents of the book. Certainly the title contains enough potential for drama and controversy to whet almost any intellectual appetite. But that’s not what we’re going to do here. What we’re going to do, instead is feature, an underlying theme presented by Mr. Best.